Kensington Association at a crossroad

Kensington Association at a crossroad
Simon Harvey

The Kensington Association (KA) was formed in 1997 … 26 years ago. In the first edition of North West City News (NWCN) in February 2021, as chairperson of the association, I penned a brief history of the KA, in which I documented some of its achievements (you can revisit all 33 NWCN editions).

As immediate past chair I now, three years later, pen Kensington Association at a crossroad.

I want to celebrate our past achievements and suggest that being at “a crossroad” is not a bad thing, just as a “crisis” is not necessarily negative. By facing challenges, we can be pushed into a more thorough review, reassessment, and revision, which can set us up to face the future more effectively.

Why are we at “a crossroad”? Allow me to explore this.

On our website we have three key “purpose” words: monitor, protect, and enhance. Our six organisation purposes (as per our constitution) begin with six verbs: to initiate, implement, encourage, provide, uphold, and cooperate.

If I add that the “provide” is to provide connection to government, and the “uphold” is to uphold democratic processes, it is not hard to fill in the gaps. These purposes and our full constitution can be viewed on our website.

We need to ask how well we are carrying out our objectives, and whether they are as fit for purpose in 2024 as they were in 1997?

In the 2021 article I wrote, “the usefulness and relevance of community organisations is directly proportional to how effectively they reach out in a collaborative manner into the community”. I still believe that, but this year, 2024, I would add: “how effectively we reach out depends on the number of members (of KA) who actively ‘man the barricades’”.

When there is a cause that excites or disturbs us, “the barricades” are solid i.e. membership activity blossoms. At present there are some disturbing developments, but it feels like a blanket has dulled our passions … was it COVID? Is it a feeling of powerlessness in the wake of government assertiveness? Does our modus operandi require some rejigging? Are our purposes still relevant in 2024?


Many volunteer organisations seem to be facing similar challenges; perhaps we can learn from one another as we face the future. This is a crossroad, but not the first, nor will it be the last.


All the above questions, and more, will be explored by Kensington Association members over the coming months. We will look at ways of facilitating active membership in such a way that responsibilities are shared by a team, so that our purposes can continue to be pursued in the most effective way (watch this space!).

We know we are a valued arm of the City of Melbourne’s matrix of governance and that we provide a key connection between the community and the council.

All Kensington community members are invited to become association members and to participate, give feedback, and make suggestions about how we can look to the future. We particularly invite input from past and present association members.

The Kensington Association exists to help us look after ourselves, our families, our interests, and the wonderful suburb in which we are fortunate to live.

Membership details are on our website. Drop us a line or subscribe to our newsletter! •

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