About Us


Cooinda was established as the Terang and District Retarded Children’s Centre, after a public meeting on 24th September 1954. A committee of volunteers and family members was formed to oversee the development of the organisation and the name “Cooinda” chosen as it means “a happy place”. Initially using the Church of England hall, 9 children were enrolled. In 1955 with growing enrolments the property at 35 Dow Street was established with generous support from the Terang and District community. In the 1960’s a kindergarten extension was completed and enrolments grew to over 30 children. Cooinda has grown over the years with the adult training unit being added and eventually the children’s section separating to become the special school in the mainstream education system. A range of adult training programs were offered including the running of a full dairy farm and a workshop area was built. A second campus in Camperdown was established in the 1990’s.

Supported accommodation was first offered in 1974 with the opening of Villa One in Dow Street. Later, thanks to a number of grants and bequests, another two full time supported residential houses were opened and McPhee Respite House established to offer much needed support to families on a short term basis.

Cooinda has now grown to an organisation which employs 85 staff, supporting approximately 70 participants offering both day programs, independent living and residential support.

From the commitment and caring of families and the Terang and District community in the 1950’s Cooinda continues to be an organisation whose values connect it strongly with the communities and families of the district and beyond.

From ‘The History of Cooinda 1954-1994’


Cooinda provides its services based upon strong values and ethics. It aims to keep this ethos at the core of its interaction with participants and the community, whilst also expanding the services offered to cater to the evolving needs of the community.


A builder of a socially inclusive community where people of all abilities are engaged and valued

Cooinda provides an open, welcoming environment for participants and families and places great emphasis on participation and consultative structures involving participants, families and staff to inform the executive and the Board’s decision making.

Cooinda’s mission to achieve the vision is:

  • To provide quality programs, services and residential options that best meet participant needs and helps them develop to their full potential
  • To work in partnership with all pillars of the community to deliver services and advocate for people with a disability
  • To ensure the needs of participants and their families are paramount in service delivery.
  • To respect the history of Cooinda and the roles its contributors have played to build community relationships and a sound reputation
  • To educate and train the community to the role they can play to support our participants
  • To foster the practice of inclusive service, choice and flexibility


Cooinda adopts the following set of values in all of its dealings:

  • Choice and control;
  • Responsibility
  • Accountability
  • Empowerment
  • Respect and
  • Engagement


Cooinda employ over 100 staff across its many program areas including Residential Support Workers and Day Program Instructors. Any positions available will be added to this page as they become available and may be advertised in local Corangamite Shire newspapers.

Positions at Cooinda require applicants to: 

Should you wish to inquire about casual work or send in a resume please complete an Expression of Interest form here and return it along with:

  1. Your current Resume
  2. Consent to a Police Check form
  3. Completed Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme forms

to Cooinda by mail, in person or email it to [email protected]

Cooinda provide its staff with ongoing education opportunities and work with local providers to ensure our staff have up to date skills and qualifications.

All staff must adhere to Cooinda policy and procedures and strive to maintain a culture that is positive, participant centred, respectful of individuals and their privacy.


Volunteers are a valuable resource that can bring welcome support, skills and value to participants and staff at Cooinda.

Cooinda does provide opportunities for members of the community to volunteer in some of its programs, primarily in Day Program support roles.

Volunteers are subject to the same policies and screening requirements as paid staff.

If you are interested in volunteering at Cooinda please contact our main office at 35 Dow Street Terang or call us on (03) 55 921533.


The Cooinda Board of Management is responsible for the governance of the organisation.

It is made up of family members or carers, professionals and community members with a range of skills who contribute greatly to the mission and the ongoing stability and growth of Cooinda.

Our board meets monthly to review program reports, our financial position, to monitor risk and quality and make strategic decisions that guide the future direction of Cooinda.

The Risk and Finance Committee is a Board subcommittee that meets monthly and delegated Board members join the monthly Cooinda Quality meeting.

Our Board regularly reviews the Cooinda strategic plan and risk register to ensure strong and competent leadership and to address the changing needs of the organisation.

Board of Management

Chris O’Connor

Chris is in his second year on the Cooinda Board and has previously been the Corangamite Shire mayor. Chris has a farming background and is closely involved with the aged care sector and is very supportive of local community events and sporting organisations such as the Terang Mortlake Football Netball League and the Noorat to Terang Fun run.

Caroline Nash

Caroline is coming to the end of her second year on the Cooinda board as a family Representative. Previously she has been on the Board of the Hampden Specialists School. She has also served on the board at St. Patricks Primary School in Camperdown. Caroline has a daughter that attends Cooinda for Programs and working at the Little Acorn café since finishing School in 2016. Caroline is really enjoying the opportunity to help shape the future direction of the Cooinda Community.

Phillippa Dee

Phillipa joined the Board in 2017 and has a background in accounting. Phillipa is currently teaching at South West TAFE. Phillipa lives in Terang and is very interested in learning more about Governance and Strategy to support local community organisations. Phillipa enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Pam Dolley

Pam brings her experience in healthcare education, standards and governance to the Board Room. In earlier years, Pam taught at the Steven Racz Ballet Academy and the Geelong Ballet Centre.  Pam has always been impressed with the wonderful caring connection between                participants of Cooinda and the community. Pam intends to assist in developing services which create joy and support for participants and their families.

Edward Conheady

Edward and his wife Geraldine are local farmers from Noorat who have seven children. Edward has expanded his farming business over the years and now has 5 operational dairies. Edward completed his tertiary education at the Glenormiston College and has been the past President of the Noorat Show Committee and a previous board member of the Demo Dairy.

Sarah Cole

Sarah joined the board in 2019 and is a family representative and has a brother that receives supports from Cooinda. Sarah is a qualified hairdresser and runs her business from home. Sarah also milks cows and enjoys being busy. Sarah joined the Board as she wished to learn more about the disability sector and the strategic direction for Cooinda and feels as a younger person she may have a different perspective  and ideas that can add value to diversity of the Board.

Jillian O’Connor

Jillian joined the board in 2019 and is a family representative having a son that receives supports from Cooinda. Jillian lives on a farm at Scotts Creek and is actively involved in local community sports activities with her children. Jillian joined the Board to be a voice on behalf of other parents and carers; to ensure that the Strategic direction and policies and procedures always align to the Cooinda purpose and the future needs of people with a disability.

Executive Team

Janice Harris CEO

Sharon Rees Business Manager

Phil Hose General Manager

Tanya Jackson Quality and Systems Manager

Team Leaders and Coordinators provide the critical day to day management in each of our respective sites.


The National Disability Insurance Scheme was rolled out in the Southwest Region of Victoria from October 1st 2017.

A great deal of work has been undertaken to prepare the organisation as well as participants, carers and families for this transition.

If you would like to know more about the NDIS and how it might change the way you or a loved one receive services, please contact Cooinda and speak with our CEO or General Manager.

NDIS website


Cooinda is a not-for-profit service and relies on the support of the community through donations and bequests to ensure that we offer the best quality service to our community. Funds may be used for a particular item or project such as program equipment, transport and new facilities or to provide someone a service that they require for which we are not funded.

If you wish to make a donation you can do this via mail by cheque or money order to; Cooinda Terang Inc. PO Box 100, Terang 3264.

Donations over $2 are tax deductable

If you would like to make provision for a bequest in your Will please speak with your solicitor when making your Will so they can advise you on how this can be done.

“Cooinda was built on the generosity and support of our local community”