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Governor-General visits Early Start Discovery Space

Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove meet children, families and staff, tour interactive learning experiences

The Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove declared himself a “big supporter” of the University of Wollongong’s Early Start Discovery Space after taking a tour of the facility, Australia’s only dedicated children’s museum, during a visit to the Illawarra on Tuesday (11 September).

His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove were hosted on their visit by UOW Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Judy Raper. They took the opportunity to inspect the Discovery Space’s interactive learning experiences, and to stop and chat with children and their families.

“The University was delighted to host Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove during their visit to Wollongong,” Professor Raper said.

“They showed a great deal of interest in the research, teaching and community engagement work being undertaken by Early Start and were impressed with the facilities and activities on offer for young children and families at the Discovery Space.”

Professor Raper, UOW Chief Administrative Officer Ms Melva Crouch CSM, and Faculty of Social Science Executive Dean Professor Glenn Salkeld joined Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove on their tour. Early Start Chief Executive Officer Ms Anita Kumar conducted the tour.

Ms Kumar said Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove were particularly interested to hear how the different experiences were designed to aid young children’s social, physical and cognitive development through play-based learning.

“The Governor-General and Lady Cosgrove toured the Discovery Space and saw children and families engaged in play, developing confidence and having an interactive learning experience,” Ms Kumar said.

“They visited the market place, Antarctic vessel, construction zone, our story time activity and other experiences.

“His Excellency was interested in how we translate research within the Discovery Space as well as meeting some of our Early Years students in the area undertaking practical work as well as volunteering.

“They were generous in their time, talking to children, families, staff, students and volunteers.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to share our work in the community with Their Excellencies. They were keen to learn about what we do and commended the University’s focus on supporting children, families and the community.”

After the tour, two regular visitors to the Discovery Space, Darcey Kost and Dahlia Depers, both 4, presented Their Excellencies a small gift, thanking them for their visit to Early Start. In return, Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove presented the children with a medallion.

“The children were thrilled and couldn’t wait to go back to preschool for show-and-tell,” Ms Kumar said.

Sir Peter Cosgrove - collageGovernor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove visit the Early Start Discovery Space.



The Discovery Space is a hands-on creative learning venue designed for children from birth to 10 years and their accompanying families, carers, educators and teachers. It is Australia’s only dedicated children’s museum, and the first-of-its-kind in the world set on a university campus.

Activities are designed to allow children to take control and share their imagination and creativity with others. The best-designed activities ensure accompanying adults have as much enjoyment as children, sharing the experience as co-learners and creators.


The Early Start initiative aims to give children the best possible start in life and is particularly focused on bringing about better outcomes for children growing up in regional and remote Australia or living in vulnerable circumstances. Early Start brings together early childhood researchers, educators and service providers, along with families and the community with the guiding aim of supporting all children to have a happy and healthy childhood, and become engaged citizens.