This is how it all started

On 5 September 1940, her Excellency Lady Zara Gowrie, wife of the then Governor-General of Australia opened the Lady Gowrie Child Centre in Victoria Park, at a public gathering.

During the years 1939 to 1940, six centres were opened across Australia, one in each state. These centres were originally established by the Australian Commonwealth Government as demonstration centres for children, educators and programs. Because of the inspiration provided by Lady Zara Gowrie, it was decided that each of the six centres would bear her name.

Gowrie in WA

Gowrie WA operates three early childhood education and care centres, employing educators and support staff that are passionately committed to building secure, trusting and strong relationships with children and families. Our adherence to the Early Years Framework and National Quality Standards is something we are proud of as is the dedication we have for ensuring children are provided with the very best care and education while growing and developing through the early years of life.

Gowrie WA also operates a family and community centres, located in Karawara we we provide a range of integrated services and programs for children, families and the community. Messy play, playgroups, dance classes, information sessions, church groups, other like-minded organisations, language classes, craft groups and Gowrie initiated and implemented programs all share in the buzz that can be seen and felt in our family and community centres.

For our children, families and community

With our early established high quality childhood education and care centres, and dedicated family and community centre, Gowrie WA provides healthy and nurturing learning environments for our children, families and community, built on the foundations and dreams of both Lady Zara Gowrie and the wonderful educators and support staff that make Gowrie what it is today.

Our strategic plan

These are the five key values in our strategic plan:

  • Childhood – providing children space to play, explore, learn, develop, and build healthy relationships
  • Relationships – team, families and community collaborating for the benefit of the child
  • Responsiveness – Adapting to the needs of the child and the community
  • Quality – delivering leading activities, programs and services that aspire to exceed expectations
  • Lifelong Learning – Providing children and community with knowledge, skills and attitudes that prepare and provide for the future

The Board of Directors

The Gowrie WA Board is comprised of seven volunteer Directors who are dedicated to supporting the organisation. The Board meets monthly to ensure the strategic direction and overall progress of Gowrie WA remains true to our vision, purpose and values.

It is with gratitude that we thank the Gowrie WA Board for their continued support, encouragement and dedication.

  • Simon White

    Simon joined the Gowrie Western Australia Board’s in March 2013, originally as a Board Member, and in recent years taking on the role of Chairperson.

    Simon holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management plus a Business Degree with a double major in Industrial Relations and Management.

    Simon’s qualifications are bolstered by the roles he has held and the high level skills he has developed.

    Simon has had extensive experience working with clients across a wide range of industries in the field of employee relations, and has done so for over two decades.

    Simon is currently an employee relations consultant working for an employer association in the resources sector.

    His knowledge and expertise assists in supporting the enviable organisational culture the team at Gowrie Western Australia exhibit and nurture.

    Simon provides the Board and Chief Executive Officer with relevant and up-to-date guidance and information on the ever changing landscape of the human resources and industrial relations landscape.

    Simon is a father of two young adults. Simon staunchly supports the important role our organisation has in the not-for-profit arena and early childhood sector, and the quality early childhood education and care services offered by Gowrie Western Australia.

    Simon is steadfastly aligned to Gowrie’s strategic plan and looks forward to the potential of Gowrie Western Australia expanding in to regional areas, where the need for quality care for children is vital.

  • Jodie Holbrook
    Deputy Chairperson

    Jodie joined the Gowrie Western Australia Board of Directors in March 2013.

    Jodie has worked diligently to support the development of communities for over 20 years, in both government and non-government positions.

    Jodie is committed to, and passionate about, the development of accessible and high quality services for children, their families, and the community.

    Jodie believes in the need for greater investment and integration of early year’s services across Western Australia, especially in regional, rural and remote areas.

    As a mother of two boys who have both experienced the services of Gowrie Western Australia in their younger years, Jodie is well-equipped to support the Gowrie Western Australia organisation with firsthand experience, and a wealth of knowledge and expertise.

    Jodie’s expertise gained through her work with, and on, several Boards over many years, assists Jodie to bring a  very sound level of understanding, efficiency and effectiveness to Gowrie Western Australia’s Board.

  • Alex Lustig
    Board member

    Alex joined the Gowrie Board in February 2013.

    Alex has practiced law for two decades and is a partner of Jackson McDonald – Perth’s largest independent law firm.

    Alex is passionate about access to high quality education in the early years, as well as ensuring related services are available to children, families and community. This ethos is shared by all members of the Gowrie Western Australia Board.

    Alex is a Fellow of Leadership WA and brings to the Board experience in governance in the not for profit sector, and legal skills in the area of insurance, risk, and occupational safety and health. All of these areas of expertise are of great benefit to the strategic and operational plans of our organisation. They also greatly assist in ensuring Gowrie operates in a manner the Board and leadership team is fiercely proud of.

    Alex believes in, and is aligned to, Gowrie’s purpose and values, and remains excited to be part of Gowrie Western Australia.

    Alex appreciates the importance of family, and in his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his three children, and tries to remember what his wife has asked him to do.

  • Michelle Owens
    Board member

    Michelle joined the Gowrie Western Australia  Board in June 2019.

    Michelle has been administering State taxes with the Department of Finance for over two decades and currently manages changes to the State tax laws for the benefit of the Western Australian community.

    As a Fellow of Leadership WA, Michelle is committed to using her expertise in government administration to improve outcomes in the not-for-profit sector, and in particular at Gowrie Western Australia.

    Michelle has a particular passion for early childhood learning and education as she is a mother to twin girls, and a step parent. Michelle very much enjoys spending her spare time with her husband and daughters, and when possible, gardening.

    Michelle is thrilled to be able to contribute to Gowrie western Australia’s purpose and values through her knowledge, expertise and skills.


  • Shanaeya Sherdiwala
    Board member

    Shanaeya joined the Gowrie Western Australia Board of Directors in June 2019.

    Shanaeya holds a Masters Degree in Economics and is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA).

    Shanaeya has been in the public service for over 15 years, in a number of policy and advisory roles. Shanaeya spent nearly a decade as Chief Financial Officer of a range of State Government departments. Shanaeya currently holds a General Manager role in Program and Policy Management.

    Shanaeya feels passionately about making quality early education and nurturing care available to all families with young children. Shanaeya is a parent of two young children.

    She is committed to Gowrie Western Australia’s long term growth and sustainability whilst ensuring the organisation delivers its purpose and remains aligned to its values.

  • Rod Ogilvie
    Board member

    Rod is a Yamatji man from Nhanda Country in Western Australia (Murchison Gascoyne region). Rod joined the Gowrie board in February 2023.

    Rod has a master’s in Social Policy and Research and a Bachelor of Arts in Adult Education, and many other qualifications including a Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training, Reach Trainer Respecting Ethnic and Cultural Heritages, Child Protection Officer – Department of Community Services NSW, Aboriginal Foster Carer’s Training and Community Development Programs, Australian Health Consultancy Services Occupational Health, Safety & Welfare Training, West Australian Institute of Technology Aboriginal Liaison Officers course, Community Services Training College working with committees, and Community and Residential Child Care Certificate.

    Rod has worked extensively in several management positions in Western Australia and New South Wales, and has been involved in projects and training in the metropolitan area and Kimberley region. Rod was a Manager at Macmahon Mining and Civil where he took a leading role in established Doorn – Jjil Yoordaning, the Indigenous arm of Macmahon Mining and Civil. Rod was a Consultant for Interactive Community Planning (Queensland) on several community engagement projects with Indigenous communities throughout Western Australia and Queensland, a Manager for Aboriginal Employment and Retention for Kimberley Diamond Mine, and a Strategic Manager for Community Development with Winun Ngari Aboriginal Corporation working with 17 communities across West Kimberley. Rod has also held a Human Resource Manager role for Yawuru corporation (Broome), and a Senior Policy Manager role at Kullarri Regional Communities Indigenous Corporation Broome (KRCIC). Rod has lectured for Norte Dame University Broome, worked as Aboriginal Liaison Officer at Armadale hospital, worked at Great Southern Aboriginal Health. Rod currently works as Aboriginal Project Officer and Senior Counsellor/Educator for Palmerston in Albany.

Our Leadership Team

  • Tonia Westmore
    Chief Executive Officer

    Tonia’s career in the early childhood sector spans well over three decades. The roles she has held have always focused on her passion and dedication to children, families and community. Tonia’s experience includes owning and operating early childhood education and care centres in the mid 1990’s, a combined 35 years of commitment in the early years space, 25 years working in the not for profit sector to better the lives of children, a background in lecturing and training in children’s services, and working in the disability arena with children and young people. Tonia is the author of a children’s book written to support the inclusion of children with disability.

    Tonia was born in Perth and spent much of her childhood and teenage years growing up in cities and towns throughout regional and metropolitan Western Australia. Married to Ian and an immensely proud and loving mum and ‘Momo’ (grandmother) to five grandchildren, Tonia enjoys spending time with her family, her pets, and dabbling in projects where she can use her creativity.

    Tonia’s strong alignment to Gowrie WA’s purpose and values has enabled her to pilot Gowrie WA through the process of establishing itself as a leader within the early childhood education and care sector.  She strives for high quality care and early education, meaningful community services, and purposeful outcomes for children, families, the community, and her Gowrie team . Tonia works diligently and relentlessly to fulfil the purpose and values of Gowrie Western Australia to ensure children and families have access to services that provide benefit and support, and establish lifelong learnings. Tonia’s dedication to her team is evident in the way she leads them each day and her commitment to Gowrie being an enviable place to work, and an employer of choice.

  • Paula Simpson
    General Manager

    Paula grew up in a small town in East England and studied accounting at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. After graduating, Paula spent seven years working in commercial finance roles in London before heading to Australia on a working holiday visa in 2002. On this trip, Paula fell in love with Perth and decided to make the move permanent. She has never looked back.

    Paula has worked in Finance for a diverse range of Western Australian companies including a Margaret River winery and a salt mining company. Paula commenced at Gowrie in 2019, and each day she is delighted to be working with an organisation and team that shares her values and desire to make learning accessible to all children.

    Paula is a proud mother of two primary school aged children. When not at Gowrie, Paula enjoys spending time with her treasured family and friends.

  • Mish Taylor
    General Manager
    Community Services

    Mish’s desire to work with children, families and the community has been with her from a very young age. Mish commenced her career working part-time in Outside School Hours Care while completing her final years of high school. Upon completing high school, Mish commenced her studies in early childhood education and care while working in the sector.

    In 2012, Mish commenced at Gowrie working at our Karawara Early Learning Centre and later at Leeming Family and Community Centre that Gowrie operated until the end of 2020. In July 2014 Mish was awarded the role of Community Programs Manager. Mish works mostly from the Karawara Family and Community Centres where her passion for making a difference to the lives of all, is comfortably aligned with Gowrie WA’s purpose to nurture the potential of the formative years for the benefit of children, families and community.  Mish’s passion for working with the community and to care and support others, is further evident through her qualification gained as an Enrolled Nurse.

    When not at Gowrie, Mish adores spending time with her beautiful young daughter and son, her husband and her family; all of who she holds dear, including her very spoilt English staffy. Each day, Mish looks forward to coming to Gowrie where she loves her role, and the wonderful team we are fortunate to have at our organisation.

  • Yaya Tarjono
    Education and Care Lead

    After completing her nursing degree in Indonesia, Yaya decided to get out of her comfort zone and her home city, Surabaya, where she grew up, and move to Australia to work as a nurse. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite go to plan, so Yaya chose to study a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. She made this exciting decision as she loved being around young and developing learners, and she fell in love with beautiful Perth. Whilst completing her placement at Gowrie to finish her Diploma, Yaya joined our fantastic team in October 2016 as a casual team member at our Karawara site. In 2017, she was honoured to be offered the role of Assistant Manager at our wonderful Kewdale site, before moving back to Karawara where she is the Centre Operations Leader, which she adores so much.

    Yaya’s passion for working with young leaners comes from the opportunity it affords her to witness the children under her care develop, learn, grow and flourish. Yaya thoroughly enjoys providing comfort and helping children settle into a new environment and bond with their educators and peers. She also values developing trusting and strong relationships with each child’s family. Yaya believes her reward for her work is her days being filled with fun and laughter!

    Yaya believes she is fortunate to have such grand and expansive outdoor learning environments, wonderful leadership, multicultural team members and beautiful families at Gowrie WA.

    Yaya is a proud mother to three wonderful young children who just moved to Australia from Indonesia, after having been separated for ten years. Yaya looks forward to spending more time with her family and travelling together around the state. She also looks forward to continuing to love her role and support the wonderful team at Gowrie.

  • Imogen O’Grady
    Education and Care Lead

    Imogen’s love of the early years was cemented when  babysitting her beautiful nephew. Imogen enjoyed watching him learn new skills and wanted to be a positive influence and to play a part of helping him learn fundamental skills such as walking, talking and building trusting relationships with others.

    Imogen commenced studying her Certificate III In Early Childhood Education and Care. Towards her Certificate III completion date, Imogen secured a valued role as a trainee Educator at Gowrie. Upon completing her Certificate III, Imogen undertook a traineeship to study and successfully complete a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care.

    Imogen’s takes delight in fostering the lifelong learning of young children is evident in the way she conducts herself each day. Imogen also enjoys mentoring and supporting her team members, and is a wonderful role model.

    When asked what she loves most about Gowrie, Imogen said “I enjoy waking up each day and heading to Gowrie. It never feels like work, because I adore spending time with each and every child, watching them grow and develop, and I appreciate all of my team members”.

    Outside of Gowrie, Imogen loves spending time with her family and dog, and very much enjoys camping.

  • Nidup Delkar
    Education and Care Lead

    After completing her Bachelor of Education, Nidup worked as a school teacher for 12 years in Bhutan. Enthusiastic to explore more about working with the formative age group, Nidup choose to embark on an educational journey and chose Australia to pursue her Diploma in Early Childhood.

    During her exciting work placement at Gowrie in October 2019, Nidup joined the Gowrie team as a casual assistant Educator and has worked across all Gowrie centres. Nidup enjoys working with young children, sharing their curiosity about everything in life and strongly believes in fostering relationships with children and families and nurturing young children.

    Nidup was offered the role of the Room Leader in 2021, which provided a perfect opportunity to put into practice everything that she had learned over the years.

    In April 2023, Nidup was appointed to the role of  Centre Operations Leader at our wonderful Kewdale Centre. Nidup’s professionalism, caring nature and calm approach, is an asset to Gowrie, and to our Kewdale team and centre. Nidup enjoys working with the team, guiding them and their practices, and learning from everyone in the process.

    Nidup believes she is blessed to have the guidance of a wonderful leadership team, an amazing team of colleagues from diverse backgrounds, and the lovely children and families of Gowrie

    Nidup is keen to explore the different parts of Perth on weekends. Nidup also enjoys reading books, drinking tea and going for picnics.

  • Tiana Stampalija
    Quality and Compliance Leader

    Tiana chose to pursue a rewarding career in early childhood education and care over a decade ago, as she is passionate about supporting and nurturing children and scaffolding their learning to help them grow and develop.

    Tiana completed work experience in early childhood settings, where she contributed to the early learning journeys of childcare, kindergarten and pre-primary aged children. These valuable work experience opportunities are what inspired Tiana’s desire to work with young children. Tiana successfully completed her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care in 2012, and her Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care in 2013.

    Whilst Tiana has lived in Perth her whole life, she loves to travel. Tiana and her husband have been on a fantastic cruise to Singapore and enjoyed multiple exciting trips to to Bali. Tiana adores spending time caring for her much loved animals, including her pet fish and two dogs, Rogue and Aleyah. When she’s not keeping her animals happy or spending time with her friends and family, you’ll find Tiana immersed in her other passion; craft.

    Tiana feels fortunate to work at Gowrie with such a valued and varied team, and to hold a role that assists in, and supports, Gowrie’s continuous improvement and high quality care.

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