Community pulls together after ELC fire

The school's hall was repurposed following the fire.

By Melissa Meehan

An early morning fire sent thick smoke over Melbourne and partially destroyed a South Yarra church building that was being used as a kindergarten.

Christ Church Grammar School principal Neil Andary said the fire, in May, completely destroyed the part of the church building leased by the school for their Early Learning Centre.

As many as 100 children used the centre and its loss was devastating for the whole school community.

“The parents and friends were just wonderful,” Mr Andary told Kids Today.

“They really rallied to support us in the first 24 hours and that extended into the first week and beyond.

“We were very blessed with the support we got from our community.”

Students were lucky to only miss a day of school, the day of the fire, but were able to return with some reshuffling of classrooms and the use of the school’s multipurpose hall.

The wider school community also pitched in, with schools as far away as Geelong and Bacchus Marsh offering support and some even sent morning tea,

“It was truly heart-warming,” Mr Andary said.

“The kids were really resilient too, many of them didn’t see the fire because it started so early in the day – but they’ve taken the changes in their stride.”

The church will rebuild in due course and the school will continue to house the preps and Grade one’s in the main school and move the kinder kids into the current prep building before taking on a new portable (passed on by another school) before school starts in 2023.