Japara Neighbourhood House was born from the Montrose Village Network. Formed in 1977, the Network was created to provide a space to bring women together to learn crafts and socialise.

The Montrose Village Network secured its own home in 1979 when Lillydale Council purchased the home on Leith Rd. In 1980, Montrose Community House was officially named Japara, after an aboriginal leader who was instrumental in bringing tribes together. In its first newsletter with its new name, Japara House announced that it is “here in Montrose for the purpose of bringing people together in an atmosphere of friendship, to share skills, experience and interests.”

Over 35 years later, Japara has grown from a small group of passionate and committed volunteers to a professionally run community organisation. We have moved from our Leith Rd home in Montrose to a purpose built Living & Learning Centre in Kilsyth. We now serve both Kilsyth and Montrose and manage Japara Living & Learning Centre and The Bridge Community Garden Centre. We also support community members of all ages, male and female.

Yet, we continue to live The Montrose Village Network’s original vision. We still bring people together in a warm and welcoming environment. We provide high quality educational, vocational, recreational and social support services that offer our community opportunities to share skills, experiences and interests.

All of the volunteers, Board members and staff who worked with Japara throughout its rich history were fundamental in helping it become the highly respected Neighbourhood House it is today. We are sincerely grateful for their commitment and contribution. We look forward to the next 35 years of Japara’s journey as it continues to bring our great community together.