Dandenong, Victoria

About the community

The Greater Dandenong Community is situated approximately 30 kilometres from Melbourne CBD. The area covers 130 square kilometres. The residential population is 125,520 with 9,376 children aged 0 to 5 years (ABS Census 2006).

Dandenong and the Let's Read program

The Let's Read program commenced delivery in 2012. The program is coordinated by The Smith Family in conjunction with Dandenong Primary School, Dandenong West Primary School, Dandenong South Primary School, St Mary’s Primary School, St Anthony’s Primary School and River Gum Primary School.

Community stories

October 2014

This good news story came in from Lisa Ochietti, Community Hub Leader for St Anthony’s PS who rolled out Dandenong Let’s Read:

“A family attending St Anthony’s Playgroup were very excited to be part of the Let’s Read program.  When the packs were being distributed the mother requested a bi-lingual book although she spoke English with her child.  She purposefully requested the bi-lingual book as the child’s grandparents would then have the capacity to read with their grandchild while she was often working.  The mother has since reported that her parents were delighted to receive the book and the book has become a favourite in their home.”

Rosalind Leong | Program Coordinator, Learning for Life| The Smith Family

Let’s Read program launch, Dandenong Plaza

On 18 October 2012 the Dandenong Let’s Read program was launched in front of Myer at Dandenong Plaza by Anton Leschen, The Smith Family's Victorian Regional Programs Manager. The event was supported by the Smith Family's Dandenong team just five months after the Steering Committee first convened in May 2012. The launch involved a morning of engaging book reading, book making and play activities. Thirty children and their families attended the event.

In its first year of delivery, the Let's Read program aims to reach at least 400 young children across the City of Greater Dandenong, City of Casey and Shire of Cardinia. So far, 27 community professionals have been trained to deliver the Let’s Read program to 13 playgroups across the three local government areas.

Local partners include Best Start, City of Greater Dandenong, Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-operative Ltd, Dandenong Communities 4 Children, Southern Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, Playgroup Victoria, Koori Engagement Team of the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, River Gum Primary School and Dandenong South Primary School.

Story by Rosalind Leong, Learning for Life Worker, The Smith Family.


Funding for the Dandenong Let’s Read comes from the Wood Family Foundation.

Key contact

The Smith Family