Walpole Telecentre (now the Walpole Community Resource Centre) was officially opened on 28th January 1995 by the Hon. Paul Omodei, MLA and the Hon. Monty House, MLA photographed here with the inaugural Coordinator Margaret Hughes, who held the position until August of the same year.
Margaret was instrumental in establishing many services and facilities, some of which are still provided today.
The Walpole Telecentre was the fourteenth Telecentre in the WA Network to open its doors in regional Western Australia. The Walpole community and in particular the steering committee that was formed to initiate the application and establishment process with the WA State Government, is to be commended for its’ vision and foresight in identifying Walpole as a suitable townsite worthy of establishing a community owned and managed business and education facility.
The Telecentre was initially housed in a Single Mens’ Quarters (pictured right), kindly loaned, rent free, by the then Department of Conservation and Land Management, Walpole.
By March 1996 it was evident that serious upgrading of marketing and management strategies were required if the Telecentre was to continue its operations. In fact it was given notice of closure if the business could not be turned around.
On the appointment in October 1996 of Jennifer Willcox to the position of Coordinator, the Walpole Telecentre merged with Denmark Telecentre, under the name of South Coast Telecentres (Inc).
In November 1996 the Telecentre relocated to the Vista Centre (pictured left) in Vista Street, Walpole, a building owned by the Shire of Manjimup that was previously used by the Infant Health Nurse, Meals on Wheels, and a Kindergarten.
By June 1997 Ms Willcox had developed the Walpole Telecentre into a thriving and profitable Telecentre, allowing for the dissolution of the merger with Denmark Telecentre. It was then that Walpole Community Resource Telecentre (Inc) was born.
Since that time (and until her semi-retirement at the end of 2014), Walpole Community Resource Telecentre (Inc) flourished under the passionate, bordering on obsessive, management of Ms Willcox, with keen support and assistance from the committee members, staff, and volunteers of the day.
Recognising how the Walpole Telecentre had become a vital community facility, on Australia Day 2001 the Shire of Manjimup presented Ms Willcox with the Citizen of the Year Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution.
In 2000 a Co-location Committee was formed to oversee the feasibility of a three-part project: 1) to upgrade the Walpole Community Centre (the hall); 2) to relocate the Walpole Public Library to the then current Lesser Hall, and 3) to build a new Telecentre/Rural Transaction Centre.
Walpole Public Library was the first part of the project to be completed with the opening being held in July 2004. The Community Centre was closed for twelve months while extensive internal upgrading took place. And architectural plans were drawn up for a new TeleCENTRAL building (pictured right) to house the Telecentre.
The co-location project had the support and backing of the Shire of Manjimup. It was envisaged the new building would be completed by mid 2004, but due to a number of issues it was not finished until March 2005. The official opening of TeleCENTRAL was on 20th April 2005 when the Hon. Geoff Prosser, Federal Member for Forrest, cut the ribbon.
By 2009, having quickly outgrown TeleCENTRAL, Walpole Telecentre lodged applications for funding with the Great Southern Development Commission and South West Development Commission under Round 1 of the Royalties for Regions Program.
The approved and funded plan was to extend the TeleCENTRAL building on the north side to provide additional office space and a much larger meeting room.
On 7th July 2010 the Hon. Terry Redman, MLA, Minister for Agriculture and local State Member for Blackwood-Stirling, officially opened the extensions to the renamed Walpole CENTRAL building (pictured below).
Walpole Telecentre was also renamed the Walpole Community Resource Centre (CRC) under the rebranding program of the WA Community Resource Network (WACRN).
Walpole CRC became a registered charity in 2019.
With due credit to Jennifer Wilcox, for the wonderful work done after what appears to be a coordinator(s), or economic conditions, that failed the Telecentre prior her appointment. However, this historical account does not acknowledge the vision of the Walpole Telecentre Steering Committee that was established to oversea the establishment of a telecentre in Walpole, or the valuable contribution of Margaret Brocx (then Hughes, as pictured with Paul Omodei) In the Project Management and establishment of the original thriving Telecentre in the then CALM bunkhouse. The Telecentre outgrew the Bunkhouse within 12 months of opening, and a new site had been earmarked at the time of my resignation.
I think that it would be appropriate to acknowledge these contributions as part of the history of the Walpole CRC.
Hi Dr Margaret Brocx,
The history has been amended to include and acknowledge the work and commitment provided by both yourself and the Walpole Telecentre Steering Committee. I hope you like the changes.