People Helping People

Life for The People Place, began through the formation of The Busselton Family Centre which was established in 1993. At that time Busselton was a country shire and part of the Vasse electorate. The population of Vasse in 1993 was recorded as 22,600 people.

The centre was officially opened in January 1993, to house the Kindergarten of the Busselton Primary School when it was relocated from the central shopping precinct site to Geographe. The Child Health Centre was co-located in the building and the kindergarten was moved onto the school site. The building then housed a 4-year-old program and focused on families and activities for children. Funded by the Dept for Communities the centre supported this service provision to the wider community.

Rich in People and Culture

Families would travel from outlying areas such as Scott River in the lower South West combining a weekly business trip with children attending Playgroup or four year olds whilst connecting with family. Today teenagers and mothers come back and reminisce about their days attending activities as children.

Over the years the purpose of the Centre has remained constant. To improve and enrich the quality of people’s lives, in a safe, secure and welcoming facility. Bringing together diverse groups to share information and activities, expanding their knowledge and potential, helping the community to prosper and grow.

Evolving into The People Place

At a brand launch on Tuesday 17th July 2017, the long awaited announcement of The Busselton Family Centre’s new name and brand was released. Some 80 guests attended the launch and enjoyed a lunch supplied by ‘Supper Road’ and what a gourmet treat it was. Guests were ‘Welcomed to Country’ by Gloria Hill while Libby Mettam MLA opened the proceedings and Mayor Grant Henley was on hand to cut the celebration cake. People Place, Chairman, Tony Robinson told guests that the new programing and strategic plan commenced in June 2016 and has taken almost 12 months to come to maturity.

Our People – Staff and Board Members

CEO RILLA BERESFORD: Rilla joined the Busselton Family Centre in 2004. From its inception, the Centre has always operated on the Family Centre Model and Rilla’s influence has always been a central focus of the Centre’s mandate. She has a strong background in business management and has worked extensively with associations and community groups throughout her career.. Rilla possesses the communication skills to build strong relationships with service providers and the public alike.

PROJECT MANAGER JANINE OXENHAM: Janine Is a Malgana Yamatji woman from the Shark Bay area in WA. She has been employed as the Project Manager at the People Place Busselton since mid 2020.

Janine has extensive experience and understanding of community capacity building, as well as experience in workshop delivery to both adults and youth. As part of her role she coordinates and manages various events and activities around The SouthWest. Further to this, Janine supports the centre with funding acquisition through an array of avenues.

Outside of the People Place Janine works in the arts industry as a performer and choreographer.

ADMINISTRATION ASSISTANT MICHELLE STOBBIE: Michelle moved to Busselton with her family in 1986 and became a single mother in 1996, before meeting her now husband.  Now a mother of three with identical twin girls in 2006; her husband is a FIFO worker.  She attended playgroup with her twins and served on the Busselton Family Playgroup Committee for three years when the girls attended the now ceased Fun 4s Program.  Michelle has extensive experience and qualifications in administration and accounting.  She is also the volunteer treasurer for Aces Netball Club.

CHAIRPERSON LORRAINE WATTS: Lorraine joined the Board in 2021 after a long association through Naturaliste University of the Third Age where she was Secretary and Course Leader. Prior to retirement Lorraine held senior roles at various State Government Departments including the Department for Communities, Training, Disability Services and Culture and the Arts. Lorraine has a strong community development background from her work in metropolitan and regional WA and an interest in life-long learning. She has tertiary qualifications in Management and Professional Writing.

VICE-CHAIRPERSON MAXINE PALMER: Maxine has over 25 years’ experience in leadership roles working in commercial, not for profit, local government and family businesses in the UK and Australia developing strategy and delivering a diverse range of operational and strategic projects. With a broad range of experience in different Board and Committee roles within Local Government and community with oversight of strategy development for new service innovation, place making to support economic development, risk management, Occupational Health and Safety, policy setting and marketing strategy.

Maxine has led in excess of 100 staff across multiple service areas including a national team of field staff, customer service centres, human resources, recreation, events, arts, culture and research and development teams.   

SECRETARY GLORIA KESBY: A Busselton resident since 1998, Gloria’s connection with The People Place began in 2004 as a community member. In 2005 she became a Board Member. Her continued representation on the Board since then has meant she has held the position as chairperson and general member, allowing her to witness the evolution that has taken place from the early days of an uncertain future, to the present day of growing prosperity. Over fourteen years she has attended workshops and conferences, adding her knowledge and skills plus a wealth of experience to benefit The People Place.

TREASURER JANET MANNOLINI: Janet was born of migrant parents and grew up in Fremantle. She and her husband Gary owned a restaurant during the heady days of the America’s Cup in Fremantle. Janet and her husband moved to the South West about 30 years ago.

Janet worked as a bookkeeper while pursuing an accounting degree from Edith Cowan University and has been a CPA qualified accountant for over twenty-five years. She has worked as an accountant in tax before moving onto working in more challenging accounting and management roles in Not-for-Profit organisations. Later Janet lectured in bookkeeping and accounting at both TAFE and university before progressing into senior management and project management roles at Edith Cowan University. Janet has been a treasurer and voluntary auditor of a number of community groups, both small and large. She enjoys the beautiful natural environment of the South West region and spends time pursuing nature related activities of bush walking, bird watching, camping and enjoying the spectacular wildflowers on offer.

BOARD MEMBER PAULINE ROCKLEY: Pauline was born in NSW but moved to Perth in 2002. She has three adult children. After graduating as a mature-age student she worked with the NSW Department for Community Services for twenty-five years. During that period she worked in a variety of senior roles in a number of Community Centres. Her last twelve years were as District Manager, Community Services. As a Child Protection Specialist she provided training to hundreds of teachers on the mandatory reporting of child sexual assault. Pauline was on several committees during her years in NSW, including domestic violence, youth services, multicultural services and services to families.

In 2002, Pauline was contracted to the WA Disability Services Commission for nine years. In this role she monitored the Disability Services Standards. She moved to Busselton nine years ago and has been a member of the Vasse Primary P&C for the past five years. She is a Committee Member of Naturaliste U3A and a volunteer at the Art Geo complex. Pauline likes to travel and immerse herself in different cultures. Her hobbies include writing, mosaics, gym and walking her dog on the beach.

BOARD MEMBER JOAN PARKE: Joan grew up on the family orchard in Donnybrook. For many years she and her family holidayed, fished and swam along the Busselton beaches. When she  retired in 2011 she had an opportunity to come and live in Busselton and is very glad that she did.

Previously Joan was a teacher for many years and for some time had her own tutoring business. Soon after coming to Busselton she joined the Naturaliste University of the Third Age Inc and has run many courses and been on the Committee and President of that group for some 10 years. On retiring from that position she ‘rejoined’ The People Place Board and is very much looking forward to being part of the team.

BOARD MEMBER ANN STANTON: Ann Stanton moved to Busselton five years ago, after relocating to be closer to both daughters and families who have lived in the region for many years. Ann first came to The People Place four years ago to attend The Permaculture Project and was enthralled with her new found learning for this method and the joy the garden gave. Dedicated to being involved in the community, Ann has also volunteered for several organisations including Hands Up 4 Kids and Ryde Program. Although initially moving to retire, Ann retrained as a Support Worker in 2018 and continues to work for Capecare in the community. With a passion for the arts, Ann has also volunteered with CinefestOZ and is a current member of the Busselton Repertory club.