Posted by Vince Costantino on Sep 27, 2019
Kay Seeber, founder of the Mandurah Mum's Cottage, was introduced to the meeting by Rob Davis.

Kay started the Mandurah Mum’s Cottage after attending a conference in Sydney for Australian Church Women.

The Australian Church Women's Group works with all denominations and it was at the Sydney conference that Kay first heard of the Mum’s Cottage concept. 

Mum's Cottage is a Not For Profit, community based organisation, that provides free services such as mentoring, counselling, workshops, support groups and education to families, as they navigate their way through difficult and challenging times. A Josephite nun (Sister Helen Anne) started the first cottage in New South Wales and helped Kay formulate what was needed to start a Mum's Cottage in Western.Australia.


Kay's initial involvement with Youth Care involved listening to chaplains talking about kids issues at school which encouraged her to look at how the parent's problems affected their children.

The local Member of the West Australian Parliament, David Templeman assisted by directing to sources who assisted Kay to progress the concept.

The Mum’s Cottage Mandurah is a place where (predominantly) women may come to find a quiet place where they can relax, and where someone will listen to their problems. Kay told the meeting that older women ( 50 & older) are increasingly struggling to find support that can assist them when they are in abusive relationships and (often) have low income.


One of the first steps required the charity to form a board of management, seek registration, and to become an incorporated body. A small lottery win proved seed capital which enabled the setting up of a house in Tuckey street, Mandurah. The house was outfitted with tremendous community support and volunteers installed gardens. The cottage opened early 2016 and the house was fully painted by volunteers.

Some twelve months later, the Cottage was required to relocate to their current premises in Davey Street Mandurah, a process which required the transfer of as much of the equipment that had been installed in their previous building, into the new Davey Street house. Kay quipped that "we would have transferred the paint if we could have!"


The first people helped were a New Zealand man and his Samoan wife with 3 boys. He was out of work, no welfare and desperate at Christmas. Appointments with welfare assistance were arranged and Christmas stockings for the children. 


When the cottage staff understand the needs of their clients, appointments are arranged with the appropriate agencies. Kay mentioned the increase in older women approaching Mums Cottage and it is heartbreaking when they cannot help.

There is a need for crisis accommodation where the women and children can have their own space and feel secure.  The cottage now has 40 volunteers working at the Cotage. Indeed, some volunteers had previously been clients who had experienced the same problems as the people they are helping. Volunteers are cooking every day Monday to Friday and the environment is homely. Kay and the volunteers ensure the women and children can feel secure in a non judgemental and friendly atmosphere. 

Kay is happy to see results where women leave better than when they arrive. While there, persons attending are invited to participate in activities such as cooking, sewing and art, but all are encouraged to drop in.

Although the majority of cases involve women, occasionally men are victims.

Some women return to the abusive relationship due to lack of funds to stand alone. Kay has still not recovered fully from health problems after having to turn women away. Having to care for her husband has helped to distance herself from those problems.


Bruce Albert thanked Kay for her fascinating talk and outstanding charity work.