About Us

PLEASE NOTE: Due to coronavirus we are temporarily operating from home.  We want you to stay safe at home.  Browse our website or follow our facebook page for ways to keep busy and connected.

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Our House

While Neighbourhood Houses across the country all look very different, the basic principles that underpin how a House works with their community are the same. Each House starts with the assumption that communities have existing strengths and assets that make them part of the solution – and then we approach what we do by “doing with, rather than doing for.” Learn more about Neighbourhood Houses.

Clunes Neighbourhood House is a community led organisation, with more than double the number of volunteers involved in it’s operations each week, compared to the state average. Working with local people, businesses and other community groups, our goal is to contribute to the liveability of Clunes by supporting everyone to be an active part of the neighbourhood.

Clunes Neighbourhood House was formally founded in 1992 (after operating informally prior to then) and incorporated in 2007 by local people seeking to provide community development opportunities that would lessen social isolation and foster inclusion.

We operate on a three year strategic planning style to enable us to have the time to work together to co-design and embed outcomes across the community.

Download our 2018-2021 plan here CNH Strategic-Plan-2018 – 2021 APPROVED

How did we get to this plan? Down load our 2016-2018 plan here.  CNH Strategic-Plan-2016-2018 APPROVED

Clunes Neighbourhood House employs a part-time Manager.  All other team members are volunteers.

Our Volunteers

In Clunes, we are fortunate to be part of a town where people place a lot of value on being an active part of their community through volunteering.   Volunteering is a very practical way of getting involved in community building. It creates connections, relationships and experiences that build on the strengths and assets of a community.

We started with a vision, then it went down onto paper.

Building a Safe And Supportive Community

At the Clunes Neighborhood House, Child Safety Policy is a critical part of our operations. Our aim is to nurture safe and supportive networks for children, their families within our organisation, and across community.

In 2017, we partnered with Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre and the Victorian State Government to undertake a series of research studies to better understand the aspirational, educational and employability needs of our community – and the broader shire. Through a series of surveys and one on one interviews, we produced the findings, which have informed many of our initiatives since then.

  • Hepburn Skill Store CLUNES Report: research that informed our multi-level, multi-stakeholder approach to supporting the aspirations, participation and employability of Clunes kids

Clunes Neighbourhood House coordinates:

Regular and special activities led by community members interested in contributing to their neighbourhood.  This means we have a participatory approach to our programing, focusing on building the capacity of our community to make their own change happen.

Regular and special activities include:

  • Arts
  • Youth
  • Learning
  • Fitness, health and wellbeing
  • Skill development

A Snapshot of Clunes Neighbourhood House’s journey:

Clunes Neighbourhood House has been operating for almost 30 years, and in that time has become a part of the neighbourhood, living and sharing a number of different premises.  The first premises was the Old Free Lending Library. A one off Government Grant of $140,000 was provided in 1987, to fund a coordinator and computers. In the early days, the main focus was on technology based classes for adults but over the years that has changed.  Neighbourhood House then moved to a shop front in Fraser St (where Widow Twankeys is now!) and then to the Hepburn Health Services premises on the Ballarat Rd.  After 10 years or so there, Neighbourhood House moved to No 6 Service St for 3 before finding it’s new home, with the Lee Medlyn Home of Bottles at the Old School House at 70 Bailey Street, in 2011.  This beautiful building has been very effectively shared since then.

The Free Library building, one of CNH’s many former homes.

The Art Factory


And it’s coming to fruition faster than we thought possible. We are grateful for all our contributors – sponsors, donors, volunteers and Work for the Dole participants. Without you all, none of this would be happening. So here’s where things are at right now…

The kiddies bike mounds are in place, walking/riding paths are laid, new trees are planted, rocks are places and native plantings along the path have been dug in.
The old play equipment has been refurbished, the new playground equipment is in (thanks Hepburn Shire Council!) and boy does that swing get a workout. Locals and visitors to town alike are already frequently using the playground and park.
Swing Time
A panoramic shot of work in progress from the back of the property, showing the playground, Lunchroom, and Bottle Museum behind it.
We call this building “The Lunchroom” because that’s exactly what it was in the war years, when this property was a knitting mill, supplying socks and other knitted garments to Australian soldiers on the battlefield.

Unusable for years, the Lunchroom is now fully refurbished inside and out, thanks to a combination of input from Hepburn Shire and grants that we obtained. It is in frequent use by our community, including Art Attack (youth activities), hire by individuals and groups, and most recently, Dance your Bits Off open dance sessions.

The once-shabby interior is now clean and sparkling, very comfortable. At the other end a kitchen has been installed.

ArtFactoryHeaderwebCulture-led renewal harnesses creativity for social and economic purposes. It is a concept that has become an almost ubiquitous feature of contemporary western cities, contributing to neighbourhoods and communities by activating and beautifying spaces.


In 2018, thanks to the Creswick & District Community Bank the final stage of our vision for our space came to a reality – and the Art Factory was born.


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