EACH and every day for the past 40 years, Magnolia Place has been changing lives.
Since the Launceston women’s shelter first opened its doors in 1975, Magnolia Place has protected thousands of vulnerable women and children.
Today, the shelter is able to provide accommodation, advice and protection to women and children at risk and in just one year, it addresses the housing needs of an average of 228 adults and 152 children.
Since the first formal meeting to discuss the formation of the shelter on June 6, 1975, the desperate need for its services has never wavered.
Three months after this first meeting the committee had decided upon a location for the shelter, the ground floor of 21 Brisbane Street, Launceston.
But despite their best efforts, the 3-bedroom, one-bathroom household was simply not big enough for the 962 people it had accommodated over two years.
In 1978, Magnolia Place moved to a much larger, two-storey space at 69 High Street.
During these years, demonstrations took place throughout the country calling for increased funds for women’s shelters.
The shelter remained on High Street for 21 years before relocating to its current premises in September, 1999.
Today, the shelter offers 12 immediate emergency accommodation self-contained units and one overnight emergency bed at a highly secure and confidential address.
Magnolia Place chief executive Jenny [surname withheld] said that reaching its 40th year of operation was a significant achievement.
‘‘Magnolia Place has been absolutely vital in the community; I don’t know where people would be if there wasn’t a shelter,’’ Jenny said. ‘‘It’s very sad that we need to have shelters and that women and children find themselves in this situation and that family violence is the main reason that families come into the shelter.
‘‘But it’s great that we have somewhere for them to go and for the last 40 years, we’ve offered that.’’
Members of Magnolia Place joined Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten, Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma and about 150 guests at a civic reception on Friday to recognise and celebrate the shelter’s 40 years of service.