Rosaria and Rosario Ariti with Frances “Granny” Spiers. Source: Wanneroo Regional Museum.
"Spiers were the only ones who held out a hand."
The Spiers Centre: A Brief History
In August 1980, a group of approximately forty women met in the lounge room of Joy Coleman's house in Heathridge and started to meet regularly to support and uplift each other in this new and isolated area.
From these regular meetings a committee eventually got together to formalise the group, which was named the Heathridge/Beldon Women's Community Group. Many of the women offered their homes on a roster basis to hold the meetings and as they grew so did the activities they arranged.
After persistent appeals from Joy Coleman and the committee, and the support from local counsellor Keith Pearce (and later Shire President), the Wanneroo Shire agreed to pay for the lease on a house in Spirula Way, Heathridge. During this period the group also decided to change its name to The Ocean Ridge Women’s Communites Group and decided to name the house they were meeting in The Granny Spiers Community House.
This name was chosen in honour of one of Wanneroo's local identities Frances (Granny) Spiers. Frances and her husband had settled in Wanneroo in 1905 and Frances was actively involved in all local community activities and her home was open to the community and travellers alike.
In 1982, The Ocean Ridge Women's Communities Group moved to Heathridge and the house was officially opened on Wednesday June 2nd by Cr Keith Pearce in the presence of Senator Pat Giles.
Eventually, the Shire of Wanneroo donated land and the Lotteries Commission granted the money for a permanent building at 2, Albatross Court, Heathridge. The house was completed in 1986 and the Ocean Ridge Women’s Community Group moved in.
During the 90’s, Ocean Ridge Women’s Community Group continued to be supported by the State Government through various granted monies. The Department of Community Development provided funds for the family support program and in 1994 funding was provided for the employment of a Financial Counsellor. The Federal Government through the Department of Family and Community Services provided funds for the crèche.
In 1997, the group changed its name to that of the house that it met in – Granny Spiers Community House Inc and although the name changed, the work continued in supporting the community.
In 2008 the Management Committee endorsed the need for a name change but also acknowledged the need to keep in touch with the history of the house and that it should reflect the newly defined purpose. In line with its newly clarified objectives, the name was changed in 2009 to The Spiers Centre.
Today the warmth and friendship that originally created the house still exists today as The Spiers Centre continues to support communities in the pursuit of making a positive difference to the lives of individuals and families.
Arts and crafts workshop
The Spiers Centre