Galloping Gumnut began operations on 2nd July 1984 as an extension of the services offered by Gumnut House Child Care Centre in Lithgow.
Why go mobile? Well, a compact, almost self contained childcare service that can visit a number of areas was at that time the cheapest viable means of providing appropriate experiences to under 5’s in areas where there was too small a population or where it was too remote to justify a permanent centre-based preschool or childcare.
Galloping Gumnut originally operated from a trailer which was towed by an assortment of vehicles; from staff cars to hire cars, and on occasions, tow trucks!
In January 1985, as a result of a Commonwealth Employment Program grant, a full time assistant was employed. Later in the same year the Department of Social Security provided funds for a bus and staffing/operating costs for a further year.
After much hard work and effort, by staff that have now moved on, we received funding from the Department of Families, Community Services, through the Rural and Remote Children’s Program.
In 1994 the Service relocated from its small office space in Read Avenue, Lithgow to new premises in Proto Avenue, Lithgow, adjacent to Gumnut House. We expanded our storage facility in 1997 and maintained the Service in many of the outlying areas. In July 2006 we relocated from Proto Avenue into new larger premises at 131 Mort Street, Lithgow.
The Service, was at that time, very heavily involved with the local Lithgow Child Protection Interagency, Spread the Word Committee, and NSW Committee for Mobile Children’s Services.
In 2009 we received funding under the Preschool Investment Reform Program which enabled us to begin operating Preschools for 3-5 year olds; firstly at O'Connell, taking over the existing Carabella Preschool and then later in 2010 opening at Perthville in the grounds of the Public School. In Septembe 2017 we also began operating an After School Care Service in Perthville.
In 2018 with the changes to the Child Care Package, the Management Committee, at the time, had to make a major decision about the future direction of the Service. This resulted in Galloping Gumnut having to reduce the number of Play Sessions and begin to operate Child Care, funded through the Commonwealth Community Child Care Restricted Funding program in conjunction with the Child Care Subsidy system.
We currently operate two State Funded Preschools (O'Connell and Perthville), three Long Day Care venues (Oberon, O'Connell and Perthville, an After School Care at Perthville as well as Play Sessions in Lithgow (Noah's Ark Babies Group), Kelso at the Hub, Hargraves in the Public School Grounds, O'Connell and Perthville.