Saturday, April 13, 2024  
    9 July 2021  
My name is Shannon, and I am the grand-daughter of Barbara Stephen, who lived on the Block in Redfern for over 25 years.

I must inform you with great sadness that Barbara has passed away at the age of 86. She moved up to Queensland with us just before COVID, but unfortunately had a stroke late last month and did not recover. My father and I have been trying to get in touch with her friends and community members to let them know.

We are planning to hold a memorial service for her in Redfern, but due to the lockdown and border closures we are unsure when this would be. Once restrictions ease we can confirm something safely.

Barbara Stephen was interviewed by Casey Palmer, ACU in 2015
A Montessori playgroup and a Montessori Early Childhood program 0-6 years,
operating through donations and voluntary support.

from the website

The Gamarada Playgroup commenced in 1998 on Eveleigh Street, Redfern, at the Elouera Community Centre which incorporated the gym. A small space at the gym was donated by the Aboriginal Housing Company. Enrolment included children from the Block area of Redfern, and the Centre was open five days a week.

In 2000, the Redfern Public School generously offered the Centre a small room in their complex. Operating in this new public school venue meant Gamarada was able to cater to a community of more diverse cultures and support more families. When Redfern Public School closed in 2002, the Centre was given a larger vacated classroom. The Centre was then able to serve children from birth to six years old. In August 2003, the classroom next door became available and was added to the Centre’s facilities making it possible to provide separate environments for the birth to three-year olds accompanied by a parent and the three to six children. The Centre also worked with Alexandria Park Public School to offer a programme for 4 to 6 year olds within the public school system. This programme met with success but was discontinued when the instigating Principal left the school.

In 2006 the program had to leave Redfern Public School, and unfortunately all that was offered by The Education Department was a room at the Bourke Street Public School, removing the school form its target group. The programme is one of the success stories of Redfern and has received the support of Tanya Plibersek, Federal Member for Sydney and the Montessori Children’s Foundation.

Program Founder, Barbara Stephen
Barbara is part of the community and has continued to offer ongoing support to the children and families of the Redfern Waterloo area. In 2003, Barbara was awarded “Citizen of the Year” by South Sydney Council for her tireless contribution not only to local early childhood education but also to the community at large.
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