John and Davida Palmer reflect upon fond memories of Stirling Street Arts Centre

As the Stirling Street Arts Centre prepares for the opening of its new building, we reflect upon its past history and those that were part of it.

John and Davida Palmer.

John was born in 1945 and lived in Albert Road, Bunbury. He started school at five years of age and attended the Bunbury Infant School.

John's dad, who was a barber, had a business next to Eddie Underwood in Spencer Street.

He took John to school each day on his bike, and then continued on to work.

John's connection with the infant school, now the Stirling Street Arts Centre, has continued - helping out his wife, Davida, who is a life member.

Davida was born in 1948, and grew up in Perth before she married John and moved to Bunbury.

A keen craft person, Davida tried to find somewhere that she could do China painting.

She saw an advertisement in the local paper about craft classes being held at the Stirling Street Arts Centre - a new venture called 'Tuesday Club'.

The club catered for mums and people new to Bunbury.

It began around 1970/71, and still continues today offering many wonderful classes.

Davida was confronted with many choices: do painting with Thelma Schrader, pottery with Jean Piper or general crafts.

She chose general crafts, but the class was full so she chose pottery.

Davida was captivated from the beginning. She did a six-year course at TAFE, and became the first technician for pottery.

The Technical School held their classes at the Stirling Street Arts Centre, before the Art Department was built on Robertson Drive.

The current pottery room was built by the apprentices.

Davida, with group members, built many different kinds of kilns. She has been a member of several groups, but pottery has always been her passion.

She is a valued member of the centre, having served on the management board. Davida regularly shares her knowledge while tutoring people of all ages and abilities.

She has seen many changes, as has John. The centre has been a big part of the Palmer family, with their daughter, Karen, being one of the first to work in the office.

They all have wonderful memories of their time at the centre, and now look forward to a new chapter in its history with the opening of the new build.

John recently caught up with former students George Fotakis, Con Jury, and Ray Parker, who were visiting their old 'Infant School' to purchase a 'memory brick' and have their names cemented in history.

If you know anyone who has attended the Bunbury Infant School or the Stirling Street Arts Centre, please contact the staff via 9791 1256 or through admin@stirlingstreetarts.com.au.