In August 1948 the Mitcham Free Kindergarten Auxiliary was formed with a view to establishing a kindergarten in Mitcham. Over the next seven years much work was done in locating the site and fundraising to establish the kinder. The building sub-committee was formed in August 1955. The building was designed free of charge by architect R (Bob) J Rolfe and constructed by M E McQuade. It is proudly noted by Mrs Jess Brown (formerly Rayson), a longstanding and current Mitcham resident and inaugural Kinder Secretary, that the kinder opened debt free.
The Dr Stanley Cochrane Memorial Free Kindergarten commenced on 13 February 1957 with 50 children (30 in the morning and 20 in the afternoon). Mrs Pritchard was Directress. Dr Barbara Meredith BA MB BS, Director of Maternal, Infant and Pre-School Welfare, with the Department of Health, officially opened the kinder on Saturday 11 October 1958.
Dr Stanley Cochrane, for whom the kinder is memorialised, was one of Mitcham’s first family doctors. Dr Cochrane and his wife, a nursing sister, bought a big home from Dr Francis John Drake, on the corner of McDowall and Harrison Streets (now the site of the Mitcham RSL), and turned it into a private hospital. The property at 331 – 335 Mitcham Road was also owned by Dr Cochrane on which he built a home, incorporating a surgery, in about 1929. The property remained a medical practice for many years. Dr Cochrane and his wife had no children of their own, but he is remembered as a wonderful doctor who often cycled to visit his patient’s in their homes. He also worked tirelessly for returned soldiers in many capacities. He died in 1950.
We were delighted to officially open our newly renovated building in 2016 where we doubled the size of the kindergarten. We were able to provide a lovely meeting space for families, new toilet facilities and locker area. At the same time we freshly painted our playroom, replaced all the flooring and landscaped our yard, adding a sensory garden, basketball ring and large boat that the children love using for story time! We are constantly reviewing the needs of the children and regularly updating equipment and resources. In 2021 we renovated our playground to include a new all abilities access playground.