For over 50 years Warrah has been enriching the lives of adults and children with disability.
Warrah’s story began in the 1960s when Karl and Hannelor Kaltenbach, established educational and vocational programs to support adults and children with disabilities on a beautiful bush block in Dural. Their work and vision to start a community was inspired by the work of Dr Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian born philosopher, artist and educator. A courageous forward-thinking act, which has lived on, changing and enriching the lives of many people along the way.
In the earliest days the task was to create and grow the fledgling Warrah community. People with disabilities, families, co-workers and supporters gathered and worked together. In those founding times, community was realised through inspiring leadership by holding a strong vision, and accompanied by unstinting hard work.
On March 23, 1969 the foundation stone was laid for Warrah’s first purpose built accommodation on 12 hectares of bushland. With 12 bedrooms, ‘Waratah’ was a Special School by day, and a group home by night. In those early days, all the staff lived in. A large organic garden was established on campus to provide purposeful work and fresh produce.
Times have changed considerably since then, but Warrah’s task has not. We work with an increasing number of people with disability who need support in their daily lives. Our services today across Sydney’s North West span supported accommodation and respite; social, educational and community support services; youth programs; a specialist school with an innovative curriculum and specialist housing.
Today, the original ‘Waratah’ has become a community centre, and our organic garden has become Warrah Biodynamic Farm certified since 1993. As a social enterprise, the farm and its farm shop provide work and training for people with disability, and produce for the people of Sydney’s North West.
Warrah is still shaped by the many residents and families who joined this community in its earlier years. We remain dedicated to creating and connecting to community life. We accompany people with disability who cannot stand alone in the world, providing soul care, guidance and a quality of life.
For reflections on 50 years please click here.