In 1954, the Helping Hand organisation began at the old Methodist Church in Service Street, determined to establish a school to cater to the needs of the mentally disabled.
The ensuing years saw a community working together to bring what was first known as, the Centre for the Mentally Handicapped, to reality, and provide a real solution for parents who had no desire to send their children off to distant institutions.
The name Noweyung bestowed by Cora-Gilsenan Waters, then president of the committee was ratified. Noweyung was originally in a building on Turnbull St. Over the years, many people became involved raising funds to build Noweyung Centre in Goold Street. It was officially opened by the Governor of Victoria – Hon. Sir Henry Winnke on 21 March 1975.
Over time rather than a school, Noweyung became a support service for adults with a disability. By the end of the 1980’s Noweyung was providing a wide variety of programs, including vegetable picking at Lindenow, Colour Gang Art Program, music program, Banksia Cottage and catering (Later becoming Banksia Fine Foods) , Girl Guides, Meals On Wheels, Able Labour (later becoming ACE) – lawnmowing services and many other center based and community based activities.
Noweyung opened it’s first Residential Hostel in 1978 providing accommodation and support for 3 adults with a disability. A house in West Bairnsdale was purchased in 1988 to provide Residential Services. In 2008 it was renamed Slim Dusty House, acknowledging the ongoing support from Slim Dusty over many years. Peters Court, purpose built independent living units with support staff accommodation were opened to residents in 2013. In 2022 another Noweyung site, close to the CBD, opened as another residential service.
Noweyung developed and evolved continuing to support people with a disability to live meaningful and connected lives. It is these people and the local community’s continued support which have helped give Noweyung a strong base for the future.