Friday 12 July 2019

The Women's Rest Centre

Long before parenting rooms became popular; there were women’s rest centres, buildings specifically built, often in the heart of town, for women and mothers to do just that, rest.
Becoming popular in the 1950s, they provided areas to lounge, wash, toilet and feed children whilst older children could play as mum enjoyed a nice quiet refreshment. It meant that mothers no longer had to rush home halfway through shopping to feed or care for their babies.
Women in Campbelltown were quick to express their appreciation of their new rest centre, opened on 21 March 1969 at a cost of $54,000, a beautifully designed and appointed building, it was the third building erected in the Civic Centre Complex, its position was chosen so that it would be as close as possible to the railway station, planned new bus terminal and proposed new library building, and was designed by architects Messrs. Davey, Brindley and Vickery, who had designed all of the Council’s new buildings.
The newly constructed rest centre looking towards Railway Street with the old Police Station visible in the background
Open each weekday from 9.30am-5pm and Saturdays 9am-12noon and serviced by an attendant, the centre included a lounge, powder room, facilities for preparing baby food and warming bottles, private cubicles for baby feeding and changing. Tea or coffee was available for a moderate charge and parcels could be checked into a cloak room, there was also a sheltered outdoor walled garden where older children could play. The rest centre proved extremely popular with local mums, travelling mums and pensioners, with many becoming regulars, dropping in each day for a cup of tea and a chat, perhaps this was the beginning of a mothers group or a new friendship.     

The interior showing modern facilities

Sadly as the years went by and shopping centres were built, the provision of a women's only rest centre was a duplication of more modern facilities available in these nearby shopping centres, the rest centre was converted into a training centre for Council employees and later demolished around about 2013 to make way for a car park.
Written by Samantha Stevenson
Sources: Campbelltown-Ingleburn News

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