Home away from home

Published on LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (author), LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (photographer)

Location(s): Rockingham, Western Australia

Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling, Captain Angela Bond, RAN, speaks with Mrs Diane Larose (blue dress) at a morning tea held to welcome new Defence arrivals to the Rockingham area at Marilla House Community Centre. (photo: LSIS Lee-Anne Mack)
Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling, Captain Angela Bond, RAN, speaks with Mrs Diane Larose (blue dress) at a morning tea held to welcome new Defence arrivals to the Rockingham area at Marilla House Community Centre.

A community centre in Rockingham, Western Australia, is providing a family friendly atmosphere which catering to Defence members and their families as a ‘home away from home’. 

On 18 June, Marilla House Community Centre opened its doors for a morning tea to welcome new arrivals to the area.

Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling, Captain Angela Bond, RAN, speaks with Able Seaman Christine Stone and her son Toby (four months) at a morning tea to welcome new Defence arrivals to the Rockingham area.

Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling, Captain Angela Bond, RAN, speaks with Able Seaman Christine Stone and her son Toby (four months) at a morning tea to welcome new Defence arrivals to the Rockingham area.

One challenge Defence families face is managing a mobile lifestyle and minimising the effects of relocation. The centre runs a variety of playgroups, programs for parents with children who have disabilities, social clubs, school holiday programs and family fitness classes to provide support and help create a network for families.  

Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling Captain Angela Bond is a strong supporter of the centre and attended the morning tea. 

“Being a member of the Defence community holds a very unique set of challenges and circumstances for us all,” Captain Bond said.

“As a parent, I can relate to these challenges and applaud the work that goes into running this centre.”

Marilla House Vice-Chairperson, Mrs Diane Larose, moved to Australia two years ago with her husband, Lieutenant Commander Patrick Larose, on exchange from the Canadian Navy.

“It was lovely to see so many new faces here,” Mrs Larose said. 

“The centre fosters a greater sense of community and is a great resource for Defence families new to the Rockingham area.”

In the upcoming months the centre is hosting discounted family photography shoots, developing a community garden, launching a new playroom and holding first aid classes. 

The centre is provided and maintained by Defence Housing Australia and most of the funding comes from Defence Community Organisation. 

For further information on Marilla House Community Centre, please go to marillahouse@westnet.com.au or call (08) 9527 9850.