John McVeity Centre, Smithfield Plains
The John McVeity Community Centre has had several name changes of the years. The origins of the centre go back to 1969, when a community centre was opened, by the Chairman of the Munno Para District Council Mr Eldred Verco Henry Riggs. The idea for a centre grew from local ministers desire to establish something more and different from the conventional church. The Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregational, Church of England, Salvation Army, Church of Christ under the auspices of the Ministers Fraternal approached the South Australia Housing Trust for assistance. The community centres aim was to give fellowship help and service to local residents. The Trust was made available on the understanding that the community centre would move into one of the shops where the new shopping centre was built opposite the building at 41 Crittenden Road, Smithfield Plains.
The centre was furnished with some tables and chairs, a table tennis table and a few items of play equipment. It was open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, and on Monday to Thursday evenings 7pm – 9pm, and Saturday 10am to noon. The YMCA commenced after school activities for primary school girls.
As the centre becomes established it is envisaged that the residents of the area will take over the complete running of the centre and use it as a ‘hub of progress’ for Smithfield Plains.
After several years a more permanent building was envisaged for the area. Originally a $1 million Recreation centre was planned after much lobbying by residents and community groups. In 1984, the plans were temporarily shelved, residents threated to hold a protest demonstration outside council offices. The completed centre was planned to contain air conditioned venue, large meeting and recreational hall, smaller meeting rooms, sauna, spa and gym. It held an outdoor play area and crèche.
The project provided jobs for 25 previously unemployed people in conjunction with the Munno Para Council. A Management plan was recommended by a committee established to look at the recreation centre. The plan recommended that a manager be appointed, a ‘donate a brick’ sponsorship scheme introduced and selling advertising space at the centre to provide operating venue. The Council appointed a seven member advisory committee to assist in managing the centre. Members were appointed from local clubs, business and community.
On 23rd April 1985, John McVeity, acting in the capacity of Mayor of Munno Para, laid the foundation stone for the Munno Para Community and Youth Centre. The cost of building went up to $1.5 million dollars. The centre was designed to cater to a wide range of passive and active sporting, recreational, educational, community crafts and cultural groups and leisure activities.
In June 1987, the Munno Para Community Centre was renamed the Munno Para Recreation Centre as there was much confusion between the centre and the Munno Para Community Health Centre and the Peachey road Centre.
In 1997 the centre became known as the John McVeity Community Centre after long term Councillor, Chair and first Mayor of the City of Munno Para.Also known asMunno Para Community CentreMunno Para Recreation CentreGeotag