Local Stories

Home / Volunteer and Community / Local Stories


Kensington resident, Hamida was born in Somalia. She and her family moved to Melbourne in 2010 and since then she has been an active community member. It was a long and difficult journey over many years to get here, but Hamida and her husband, Abdinasar’s determination, resilience and courage drove them to gain Australian Citizenship and then a year later to get a home for their family in Kensington.

Read on to hear more about Hamida’s Story as a community leader.





Hoa and Thai

Hoa and Thai are married and have lived in Kensington for almost 20 years. They came to came to Australia as refugees from Vietnam in 1979. After a treacherous journey here and a few years of working hard and adjusting to a life in Australia Thai and Hoa created a tailoring and clothing manufacturing business. Thai and Hoa are members of a few of our social groups – the Wednesday lunch seniors and our Vietnamese and Indochinese Elders group. They have also been part of the Kensingers (local choir). Hoa often drops off packages of her amazing biscotti and biscuits to the house for staff. She has been making facemasks this year for the community and distributing them via the House too.

Hoa tells us about coming to Australia with Thai and life over the years – Hoa and Thai’s Story.



Pam began volunteering at Kensington Neighbourhood House in 2018 in our Family Literacy Program. As a retired English as an additional Language Teacher she was well suited to the role. Pam had previously worked in out of school programs supporting students with refugee backgrounds. Pam has spent most of her life living in Melbourne’s west. She moved to Kensington in 1985 and recalls in the early years, on the opposite side of Westbourne Rd, there were only a few of the old drovers’ houses. A very different site today.

Read on to hear more about Pam’s story.





Paul owns and runs local café Grounded House on Macaulay Road. He was born and bred in Kensington. His parents, Tony and Lina ran a tailoring business for years in the same building and lived upstairs. They moved to Australia from small cities in Italy in the early 1950’s. After some years away, Paul honoured his late parents by returning to Kensington and establishing Grounded House in his family home and business.

After months of only take away Paul is happy to be back serving his regulars lunch and coffee. Read on to find out more about Paul’s life growing up in Kensington and how he returned to living and working here- Paul’s Story.





Erika Lodge is the President of the 78 Seniors Club, a resident social seniors group on Kensington public housing estate. Erika is originally from New Zealand. Her mother is Estonian and her father is Maori. She is from the Nagtipaupa tribe which translates to guardians of the land. Erika is a local community leader and champion. During Covid 19 she has been supporting older residents with food supplies and home cooked meals, even going grocery shopping. She was recently a finalist out of over 60 nominees in the prestigious Melbourne Awards, for her tireless support of her community this year – Erika Lodge’s story