UNSW Early Years’ fourth childcare centre, designed with input from children, has been officially opened by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Fred Hilmer.

The opening of Owl’s House, which offers care to children aged 3 months to school age, means UNSW now provides 450 childcare places to staff and students across all four centres.

Early Years general manager Jemma Carlisle said Owl’s House is unique because the children contributed ideas towards the centre’s design.

“We encouraged the children to dream and imagine all the things they thought were important in a child care centre. They were given copies of the floor plans and asked a series of questions - the resulting pictures and suggestions were considered, thoughtful and insightful,” she said.

The $2 million, four-storey purpose built centre in Kennedy St, Randwick, incorporates numerous outdoor play areas, an on-site chef and large dining room where the children share meals.

Speaking at the opening, Professor Hilmer said childcare needs to be prioritised if UNSW is to be the “destination of choice” for staff and students.

“If children are well cared for their parents are able to study and work to their best capacity,” he said.

Education consultant and patron of UNSW Early Years, Mrs Claire Hilmer, emphasised the importance of pre-school education to children’s development.

“Early Years parents know that their children are being provided with the highest level of care mentally and emotionally,” she said.

UNSW has offered on-campus childcare for more than 40 years and is one of only two Australian universities to directly manage its own childcare facilities. House at Pooh Corner opened in 1969, Kanga’s House in 1981, followed by Honeypot in 1985 and Tigger's Place in 1995. UNSW currently employs 99 childcare staff across the four centres.

The Mayor of Randwick, Tony Bowen, Bruce Notley Smith, MP and Neil Morris,Vice President, University Services also attended last night's offical opening of Owl's House.

Watch the UNSWTV Early Years video here

Media contact: Fran Strachan, UNSW Media | 9385 8732 | 0429 416 070



Early Years general manager Jemma Carlisle and patron, Claire Hilmer at the opening of Owl's House