75 Stories That Shaped Us
Because We Care
C HAPT E R
C HAPT E R
CH A P T E R
Presidents and Chairs of the Board
A Note from the Author
CH A P TER
CH APT E R
C HAPT E R
CH A P T ER
Introduction The BaptistCare story began with hope. Hope for the creation of homes to welcome and care for people who were at risk.
BaptistCare’s purpose was originally articulated in 1944 as ‘Expressing the love of Jesus to those in need’. Today, as the organisation shifts its focus towards more transformational outcomes, its purpose is communicated as ‘Transforming lives by expressing the love of Christ.’ This book provides an overview of how, during the past seventy-five years, the BaptistCare community has sought to remain true to its purpose. While honouring the countless supporters who have contributed to the organisation, BaptistCare’s history is told here through seventy-five stories of men, women and events that have shaped its culture and growth. The BaptistCare story began with hope. Hope for the creation of homes to welcome and care for people who were at risk. The focus in those early days was on vulnerable children and women with little support. Early visionaries identified themselves as representatives of Christ, and were proud participants in the vast community of those who have aligned their hearts, minds and actions to His purposes across the ages: the Christian church. As such, they recognised the immense value inherent in every person, and endeavoured to keep people as their focus. In doing so, these dreamers set a high bar for all who have followed. To their minds, any attempt to establish a home would fail if it merely created an institution. They aspired to create a home of peace; a home in the true, Christian sense of the word. More than just a building, a home should have ‘a friendly, kindly, sympathetic atmosphere, where everyone feels instinctively that they are loved and wanted’. The early pioneers diligently set about realising their dream. They founded an organisation fit for purpose and chose a name that said it all: NSW Baptist Homes Trust. ‘Baptist’ was a statement of identity, behind which sat a deep reservoir of Christian values. ‘Home’ placed their dream as the central purpose. ‘Trust’ suggested the founders’ intent that the many homes they established could be trusted.
In 1953, the Trust’s first aged care home, Yallambi, was opened in Carlingford. Over the next two decades the Trust grew significantly, with the opening of new facilities and services in Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle, Parkes and the Central Coast. This growth continued in the 1980s, with a strong focus on aged care, and family and community services such as counselling. The increasingly comprehensive range of social welfare services and in-home care were steeped in that sense of home as an atmosphere of belonging. In 1986, the NSW Baptist Homes Trust changed its name to Baptist Community Services (BCS), acknowledging its expanding range of services. From the late 1990s and into the twenty-first century, BCS grew rapidly. Staff numbers tripled and there was huge expansion in service offerings and operating budget. From 2014, BCS became known as BaptistCare, focusing on the care provided to all who use its facilities and services. ‘Baptist’ continues to be a statement of identity, sustaining the pillars of home, peace and Christian identity that remain integral to BaptistCare’s expression of Christ’s love. It is still BaptistCare’s hope and prayer that its brick-andmortar buildings, community services and in-home care will create a home-like atmosphere where people may discover holistic, transforming peace. Such peace may be physical and emotional – the transformation found in safe places of rest, security and healing. And such peace may be spiritual – the transformation found in Christ, instinctively knowing oneself to be loved and wanted, truly and finally at home. Now, in 2019, BaptistCare celebrates seventy-five years of service. Its many staff are thankful to God for the journey so far, and excited to move forward as the trusted name in providing life-transforming care for its clients. In all its efforts, BaptistCare continues to strive to establish home, in the true sense of the word.
1944–1949 In post-war Australia, significant social change was afoot, and NSW Baptists were slowly encouraging their community to engage with social action in a more positive way. The people leading this change displayed passion, hard work and skill as they set to work bringing to life the Baptist Homes Trust.
Left Left:image: Frederick 4.FJJames (FJ) Church Church,lays OBE, the OAM lays foundation the foundation stone stone at at Orana.tif Orana Court (1980).
The Baptist Forward Movement The BaptistCare story has its roots in the Baptist Forward Movement, instigated in 1936 by then-minister of the Canberra Baptist Church, Rev. Dr Arthur J Waldock. The campaign aimed for the Baptist churches of Australia to raise one million shillings to pay off the debts they had incurred during the Great Depression. Rev. Waldock framed the campaign as a renewed ‘call to God’ for those who worshipped as Baptists. Working together to raise money, he argued, was ‘a distinctly spiritual exercise, for a distinctly spiritual purpose’. It offered a way for Baptist congregations to refresh their spiritual energy around a communal endeavour. Although Rev. Waldock’s campaign did not gain traction right across Australia, Baptist Union churches in NSW did take up the challenge. They launched a modified version of Rev. Waldock’s movement, which included a commitment to raise 250,000 shillings over three years. Of these funds, 20 per cent was to go towards reducing the national debt. The remaining 80 per cent was to go towards deepening the spiritual life of all who attended local Baptist churches,
and inaugurating an ‘extension movement’ – a plan to broaden the work and influence of Baptist churches in NSW. NSW Baptists honoured their three-year commitment to raise funds to help reduce the national debt. When Ronald Earle (RE) Walker became the new president of the NSW Baptist Union in 1940, he revisited the plan to propel the denomination forward, revising it to include a proposal for Baptist social work in NSW. There was some resistance to this initiative from the denomination, especially from its ministers, because Baptists had historically prioritised preaching the good news of Jesus over other expressions of their faith, such as social work. Nevertheless, the 1942 NSW Baptist Union financial plan included six strategies ‘for social work in NSW’. Innovative and forward-looking, these included providing a business college and a school, addressing outstanding clergy pension and salary issues, and – importantly for the BaptistCare story – establishing ‘a children’s home’ and a ‘home of peace for Baptist women’.
Incorporation Recognising he may struggle to find support among Baptist ministers, in 1942 RE Walker invited eight laypeople and the executive officer of the Baptist Union to work with him to implement what he was proposing. Within a year, RE had appointed a committee of laypeople to explore methods of establishing and managing homes for vulnerable women and children. Initially comprised of twenty-two volunteers, the Homes Investigating Committee convened its first meeting on 19 August 1943, with RM Aylward as the inaugural chair, and a young solicitor, Frederick James (FJ) Church, as the first honorary secretary. Three subcommittees were formed immediately to ensure efficiency: Finance and Constitution, Domestic and Furniture, and Building and Sites. The committee identified legal and taxation barriers to religious bodies such as the Baptist Union owning and running social service ventures. Accordingly, in its first report to the NSW Baptist Annual Assembly, the committee recommended that a body corporate be set up to manage the homes it intended to establish. The assembly approved
the recommendation, along with a constitution broad enough to include all types of Christian social service activities. This newly incorporated body would be broadly responsible for the denomination’s provision of care. To be run by laypeople ‘under the control of the Baptist Union’, it would be called the NSW Baptist Homes Trust. The Trust was duly incorporated under the Companies Act, 1936 (NSW) on 5 October 1944, allowing it to own property and other assets in its own name. Its first board comprised thirty-six people, one third of whom were women. The Baptist Forward Movement released money it had raised to the Trust as seed funding: £614 for a children’s home and £701 for a home of peace for elderly ladies. Although the Forward Movement campaign officially concluded in 1949, its hope for safe homes was being realised. It is a hope that has galvanised Baptists ever since.
First funds The Baptist Forward Movement released money it had raised to the Trust as seed funding: £614 for a children’s home and £701 for a home of peace for elderly ladies.
Foundation councillors of the NSW Baptist Homes Trust.
RE brought to the Baptist Homes Trust a long-held spiritual awareness that fuelled a keen social conscience.
Highest honour In 1989, RE received the Trustâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s highest honour for a volunteer, Honorary Life Membership. In 1992, his outstanding service was further honoured when the Willandra Village Community Centre was renamed the RE Walker Community Centre.
Ronald Earle (RE) Walker, OAM Ronald Earle (RE) Walker was well-known and respected within the Baptist community for his great heart, fine mind and simple, kindly sincerity. His denominational experience spanned grassroots roles at Mortdale Baptist Church and state-wide involvement with the NSW Baptist Union. RE had firsthand experience of hardship and the struggle to find stable housing. He was only nine months old when his father died in 1901. His widowed mother, Ada, moved in with her mother and stepfather. The whole family soon moved to rent a large old residence in Woollahra, which they ran as a boarding house for six to eight guests. Young RE, who helped with boarding house chores after school, would have heard why their boarders lacked stable homes of their own. He and Ada moved again twice during his primary school years, finally settling in Penshurst where RE attended Sydney Technical High School. It is not hard to imagine the origin of RE’s passion for supporting women and children like his mother and himself. RE qualified for a secondary education bursary. After finishing high school, he secured a NSW state scholarship to attend university at night. He studied economics, then law, gaining his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 1927. He was admitted to the bar in 1928. RE was the legal officer of the Government Insurance Office until 1937, regularly appearing before the Workers’ Compensation Commission. He was subsequently appointed as a clerk of the Supreme Court, assisting the acting deputy prothonotary (chief administrator). It was during this time that the NSW Baptist Union elected RE as their 1940–1941 president, a platform he used to promote an active social conscience among Baptists. In 1949, RE was appointed prothonotary of the Supreme Court. He brought distinction to this office, later producing a series of books on Supreme Court practice. RE was a foundation member of the Baptist Homes Trust Council in 1944, vice president 1945–1947, and then president, a volunteer part-time executive role at the time, from 1947 to 1956. When he retired from his role as prothonotary in 1965, RE was farewelled in the court by a full sitting of judges. Following this, he was appointed by the NSW
Government as an executive member of the newly established Law Reform Commission. RE brought to the Baptist Homes Trust a long-held spiritual awareness that fuelled a keen social conscience. At his farewell from the Supreme Court, he told his judicial colleagues, ‘I made a commitment to follow Jesus in my early teens, and if anything I have learned from Jesus has been evident in my life, I feel rewarded'. One thing he learned and evidenced was gratitude, which activated unswerving commitment to the good of others. Whenever he was asked why he didn’t go into private practice as a barrister, his response was simple: ‘I owe the state for my education and career'. He re-invested his gratitude into the state that had helped him, and into others who, like himself, had experienced social disadvantage. RE gave outstanding service to the Trust. He was a vital force in its establishment, particularly in its first years of land and building acquisition, and in setting its guidelines for the conduct of homes. RE resigned from his role as president in 1956 so his protégé, FJ Church, could be appointed full time. He continued as vice president until 1980. In 1989, RE received the Trust’s highest honour for a volunteer, Honorary Life Membership. In 1992, his outstanding service was further honoured when the Willandra Village Community Centre was renamed the RE Walker Community Centre. RE spent his last years in Shalom, finding a home in one of the facilities he had helped bring into being. Upon his death in 1994, the board on which he had served so long recorded the following: ‘Mr Ronald Earle Walker, OAM, BEc, LLB, who died on 17 July aged ninety-four, was one of life’s rare unforgettable characters, a gracious Christian gentleman.’
RE gave outstanding service to the Trust. He was a vital force in its establishment, particularly in its first years of land and building acquisition, and in setting its guidelines for the conduct of homes.
1 Ronald Earle (RE) Walker, OAM acknowledging the generosity of the Waldock family. 2 FJ Church, OBE, OAM and RE Walker, OAM, 1950s. 3 (L to R) RE Walker, OAM, Bessie Jarvis, FJ Church, OBE, OAM and Bert Iliffe (standing).
Frederick James (FJ) Church, OBE, OAM Frederick James Church, known widely as FJ, was a man of influence, drive and deep conviction. He was the honorary secretary of the Baptist Homes Trust from its inception in 1944 until 1956, then was president until 1992. FJ’s powers of gentle suggestion and persuasion, and his wonderful sense of humour, pushed the organisation forward for half a century. Born at Campsie in 1912, FJ attended Stanmore Baptist Church with his family. During high school, he was baptised by immersion, publicly acknowledging his choice to follow Jesus. As a university student during the 1930s, FJ had many opportunities to research the Bible. Against the background of acute social need caused by the Great Depression, FJ was convinced that following Jesus necessitated caring for the needy and relieving poverty. He read Christian writers, including George MacLeod of the Iona Community, whom he later quoted: I simply argue that the Cross be raised again in the centre of the market place as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves… because that is where he died and that is what he died about. And that is where churchmen should be and what churchmen should be about. FJ wove these deep convictions into all the activities of the Trust, shaping an enduring culture. Graduating with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of Sydney in 1935, FJ worked as a solicitor until 1941, when he established his own legal practice. In 1953, Neville Grace, BA, LLB joined him. They practised under the name Church & Grace Solicitors until 1983, after which FJ served as a consultant to the firm until 1994. FJ drew up the Trust’s original Memorandum and Articles of Association (1943). It is testament to FJ’s skill and vision that the original Objects have remained current for seventy-five years.
FJ was known for his generosity, kindness and compassion for vulnerable children in care. He also, as he once acknowledged with pride, drove staff ‘with a rod of iron’. Fortunately, his colleagues tolerated his harsh side, recognising that he drove himself equally hard and respecting his capacity to process masses of paperwork far more quickly than most. For his work with the disadvantaged, FJ was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1972, then an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1979. He was also awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1995. FJ laid the groundwork for BaptistCare to become the organisation it is today. Frederick James Church, OBE, OAM.
FJ’s powers of gentle suggestion and persuasion, and his wonderful sense of humour, pushed the organisation forward for half a century.
Albert (Bert) Tom Iliffe Albert (Bert) Tom Iliffe’s name appears in the first report of the Baptist Homes Trust, not as a councillor, but as one of the honorary accountants appointed by the council. After three years in this role, Bert took on the additional role of honorary treasurer, keeping all the books except the day-to-day transactions. In the early days, the Trust’s assets were worth £13,142 and its annual income was £1,583. As the Trust’s activities became more involved, so did Bert’s work. When an accountant was eventually appointed to the staff, Bert supervised the accounting practices, ensuring accuracy and intelligibility in the presentation of accounts. He oversaw the Trust’s finances through thirty-eight years of enormous growth and transformation. On his retirement in 1985, the Trust’s assets exceeded $31 million, and its income exceeded $13 million. Those who worked with Bert spoke of his kindness and encouragement. Despite the demands of his private accounting practice, he was always available to those who sought his advice about the work of the Trust. Bert was appointed vice president of the Trust following his retirement as treasurer in 1985. In 1994, a new administration building on the Marsfield property was named The Iliffe Centre in recognition of Bert and his wife, Kath, who was a keen and active volunteer for the Trust. Bert spent his final years as a resident in Dorothy Henderson Lodge, directly opposite the centre that bears his name.
Those who worked with Bert spoke of his kindness and encouragement. Despite the demands of his private accounting practice, he was always available to those who sought his advice...
Early days In the early days, the Trust’s assets were worth £13,142 and its annual income was £1,583. At Bert’s retirement in 1985, the Trust’s assets exceeded $31 million, and its income exceeded $13 million.
1950–1959 Now established, the Baptist Homes Trust entered a decade of expansion. Having been a volunteer movement until now, the first employee was appointed in 1952. But it was through the continuing support of committed volunteers that the Trust flourished. Despite some teething problems along the way, by 1959 the Trust pioneers had established two aged persons’ homes, assisted the Lismore church to open its own home and had plans approved for another. Two children’s homes were operating, as was a home for a group of displaced refugees. In addition, early ventures into social welfare were underway.
Left: Yallambi Elderly Ladies’ Home, 1950s.
She represents the armies of women who, through the Ladies’ Auxiliary, worked to ensure the frail aged and others at risk found ‘home in the real sense of the word’.
Honorary Treasurer When the Trust established a formal Ladies’ Auxiliary in 1952, Dorothy was elected as honorary treasurer – a role she held for thirty years.
Dorothy Henderson, OAM Dorothy Henderson’s involvement with the Baptist Homes Trust spanned six decades, from helping to decide on land for the first home in the 1940s, until her death in Shalom in 2010. She represents the armies of women who, through the Ladies’ Auxiliary, worked to ensure the frail aged and others at risk found ‘home in the real sense of the word’. Dorothy was a member of the admissions committee while the first home, Yallambi, was being constructed in 1951–1952. Upon its completion, she became a member of a small team of volunteers who prepared the home for occupation and who served afternoon tea to the officials when it opened. Dorothy worked alongside many other women, dealing with the practical minutiae involved in preparing homes for occupation. In the early days, they served refreshments on their own china for openings and other special occasions. Dorothy’s daughter, Anne, recalls her mother baking for days to ensure that official guests would be well catered for. Every Sunday night, Dorothy made pumpkin soup for Yallambi residents. She sewed bedspreads and volunteered in opportunity shops, kiosks and aged care centres. When the Trust decided to establish a formal Ladies’ Auxiliary in 1952, Dorothy was elected as honorary treasurer – a role she held for thirty years. For forty-one years, as treasurer and more, she helped mount the Trust’s major fundraising event, the annual fete. She did this without a driver’s licence, relying on public transport and lifts from her husband and many friends, to whom she insisted on paying petrol money. Anne remembers her mum, fully supported by her dad, Merv, as constantly busy. I now appreciate this indicated their commitment to volunteering for the Baptist Homes Trust. They worked tirelessly on each of the homes – from finding the land, being involved with the architect and builder, selecting curtains, bedspreads and other soft furnishings, to Dad hanging all the pictures and wall items.
Even before I started school, I attended many meetings with Mum. I recall playing in the corner at Central Baptist for council meetings or in the lounge room of Yallambi for Ladies’ Auxiliary meetings. As treasurer, Mum sat out the front on what seemed a huge table, along with Ruth Castle and Jean Gorman. A beautiful friendship developed as president, secretary and treasurer worked hard together. From 1954 until 1992, Dorothy served on the Baptist Homes Trust council, adding into her mix of responsibilities the big-picture decision-making required to establish at least twenty-one homes. This involved inspecting and recommending metropolitan properties as well as handson contributions for new work in numerous regional areas. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Dorothy helped set up and provide guidelines, advice and support for various regional Ladies’ Auxiliaries. Dorothy was elected an Honorary Life Member of the Ladies’ Auxiliary in 1982. In addition to her involvement with the Ladies’ Auxiliary, Dorothy served for thirty-eight years on the council and various committees of NSW Baptist Homes Trust. She became an official member of the Trust on 9 September 1954 and retained this membership until 23 October 1992, when she was appointed an Honorary Life Member of Baptist Community Services. Dorothy was recognised with an OAM in the 2000 Queen’s Birthday Honours, for her more than fifty years of outstanding voluntary service.
Every Sunday night, Dorothy made pumpkin soup for Yallambi residents.
Ronald (Ron) George Robertson From 1944 to 1956, the management of the Trust was in the care of voluntary executive staff, while the daily affairs of the homes were the concern of the matrons. By 1957, having opened Yallambi and with plans underway for Karingal, the Trust had outgrown this honorary leadership structure. In November 1956, Ronald (Ron) George Robertson was appointed as full-time secretary to the Trust – the only salaried member of the head office staff. Relieved of Trust management responsibilities over and above his legal practice, FJ Church became president of the council. This powerful duo ensured the Trust’s work continued to thrive. Ron had Baptist heritage dating back to his great-greatgrandparents, who helped found Parramatta Baptist Church in 1851. Ron’s mother and sisters had a deep faith in Jesus and attended Auburn Baptist Church, but his father and brothers neither believed nor attended. Caught in the middle, Ron spent his late teens seesawing between faith and doubt until faith won. The denomination noticed this gifted young man. Opportunities abounded. His sphere of influence grew through a regular column in The Australian Baptist. He joined the Young People’s Board of the Baptist Union of Australia. As time went on, he was in great demand as a preacher, youth leader and trainer. In his late thirties, Ron applied for and was appointed as the secretary of the NSW Baptist Homes Trust. His energy and experience, coupled with his high profile within the denomination, would be of great benefit to the Trust, consolidating and maintaining its popular support among churches. Ron’s job with the Trust began with no office and no staff. For about a year, he worked from his home and the boot of his car. He and his wife, Nance, did everything. Working under a council of thirty-six members could be ‘puzzling’, but Ron saw that although the council was ‘weak on decisionmaking’, it was ‘strong in the spirit of voluntary effort’ and provided him with a group of well-informed ambassadors.
During his first year in the role, Ron again found himself conflicted – should he serve the community through social welfare as a layperson, or be ordained and preach in the church? He had hedged his bets in his application for the Trust position, requesting to continue studying both social and theological subjects. On the one hand, he wanted to be well equipped for this significant lay position. On the other hand, he was urged by the Baptist Theological College of NSW to ‘come right in with us’, since to not become an ordained pastor meant ‘a distinct loss to our denomination’. While he was still struggling with this decision, Ron was offered the position of pastor by Mayfield Baptist Church in Newcastle. Ron’s dilemma deepened, as he wryly acknowledged: ‘It was “Yes” going to bed and “No” getting up. My poor wife Nance wondered how my mind worked. She said once, “However did you make up your mind to marry me?”’ Ron finally decided to commit to his role with the Trust, and let go his dreams of full-time pastoral ministry. This decision changed the trajectory of his studies, and his life. Instead of theology, he studied psychology at the University of Sydney, qualified as a NSW Government welfare officer, then gained a Bachelor of Social Work and a research master’s degree in social work from the University of New South Wales. His thesis, A History of the Aged Persons Home Act, Commonwealth of Australia, 1954–1972, gave him an in-depth understanding of the detail of this Act, which was of tremendous value during his twenty-seven years of outstanding service with the Trust. After his retirement in 1984, Ron served various different churches in an interim capacity, finally realising his dream of becoming a church pastor. The following year, he was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and the Advance Australia Award for his contribution to the field of social welfare.
Ronâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s job with the Trust began with no office and no staff. For about a year, he worked from his home and the boot of his car. He and his wife, Nance, did everything.
Ronâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heritage Ron had Baptist heritage dating back to his greatgreat-grandparents, who helped found Parramatta Baptist Church in 1851.
Yallambi Elderly Ladies’ Home (1953–2017)
The 1942 NSW Baptist Union financial plan included six strategies for social work in NSW, including a proposal to establish a children’s home and a home of peace for Baptist women. In 1953, after ten years of research and planning, the Baptist Homes Trust finally opened its first home of peace: Yallambi Elderly Ladies’ Home, at Carlingford. Following the formal incorporation of the Trust in 1944, the Trust pioneers, under the leadership of FJ Church, were quick to acquire suitable acreage in North Ryde. However, despite already holding a building permit, a change of government in NSW in 1947 resulted in a change of policy that saw the lovely acreage resumed for a mental hospital. After an abortive quest for an existing old building as an alternative, a further search identified six acres on Pennant Hills Road, Carlingford, in a beautiful position and with easier access for building. After still more delays, the purchase was finalised at last in October 1948. With their hope rekindled, the Trust lodged plans with the Department of Building Materials for a permit to build. Permission was refused. Setting a precedent for strong and consistent advocacy over the next seven decades, FJ Church took the matter up with the relevant minister. The minister’s response, despite many requests, was slow. FJ Church vented his considerable frustration in the annual report of 1949: In view of the fact that the Trust obtained a permit to build at North Ryde and the only reason the building did not proceed was the action of the New South Wales government in resuming the site, we feel that the government’s action in now refusing a permit to build substantially the same building in a different position is grossly unfair, and the Council will make every effort to force the government to grant the permit so that a commencement of building can take place at an early date. A permit to build was finally granted early the following year. Once architects had finalised plans and details, tenders were called with a closing date of 4 December 1950. None
received came close to meeting cost expectations. In June 1951, it was resolved by the council that all tenders be rejected and the builders informed that the Trust was not proceeding with the project. In July, however, something happened to enable them to proceed. The Commercial Banking Company of Sydney promised that, providing the necessary individual guarantors were forthcoming, it would finance the project. WJ Harbour, a respected builder, was awarded the contract on 20 July 1951 and two months later RE Walker, president of the Baptist Homes Trust, laid the foundation stone. All building projects require good supervision and Yallambi was no exception. Albert (Bert) Goss, a renowned Baptist builder and Dorothy Henderson’s father, visited the site from time to time with members of council. He was very impressed with the quality of construction. On 20 September 1952, the building was inspected as part of the Baptist Assembly program, with about 500 people attending. On 23 November 1951, a Furniture – Furnishings Committee was appointed to consider the type of furniture needed for Yallambi. Isobel Church joined the council and the furnishings committee in May the following year to assist the honorary secretary in furnishing the home.
Cost to build During those early years, money was tight. The cost to build was £56,520 and total indebtedness at the time of opening was £29,111.
Right: Yallambi Elderly Ladies' Home, 1950s.
During those early years, money was tight. The cost to build was £56,520 and total indebtedness at the time of opening was £29,111. The Trust depended on volunteers to prepare the home for occupancy. Day after day, the Ladies’ Committee, the precursor to the Ladies’ Auxiliary, and other volunteers were involved with cleaning, arranging furniture, hanging curtains and many other chores to prepare the home for its first residents. Finally, on 31 January 1953, lieutenant-governor and chief justice of NSW, the Hon. Kenneth Whistler Street officially opened Yallambi. Anne Low – daughter of Dorothy Henderson, long-serving member of the Ladies’ Auxiliary – recalls presenting flowers to the wife of the Governor-General as a very shy four-year-old: ‘I needed a push of encouragement to walk out through the glass doors onto the verandah with the official guests'. RE Walker presided over the ceremony before an estimated gathering of 2500 people, who filled the grounds in front of the main entrance and spilled over into the street. Traffic on Pennant Hills Road was at a standstill, with two police officers on duty to direct the traffic.
RE Walker presided over the ceremony before an estimated gathering of 2500 people, who filled the grounds in front of the main entrance and spilled over into the street. Traffic on Pennant Hills Road was at a standstill, with two police officers on duty to direct the traffic.
By June 1953, Yallambi was fully occupied and running smoothly under the care of matron Margery Bartlett and her staff. The Trust was confident that they had accomplished their original objective in building the home: to create a haven of rest for elderly ladies in their closing years. Within two years, the waiting list was long enough to justify extensions to accommodate an additional twenty-two guests.
Right: Yallambi, 1950s.
1953 By June 1953, Yallambi was fully occupied and running smoothly under the care of matron Margery Bartlett and her staff.
First matron On 21 November 1952, Margery (Marge) Bartlett was appointed matron of Yallambi, the first home built by the Baptist Homes Trust.
â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;They said they wanted a home and not a hospital, an atmosphere where guests must feel instinctively loved and wanted, truly at home.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;
Margery Grace Field, OAM 26
Margery Grace Field (nee Bartlett), OAM On 21 November 1952, Margery (Marge) Bartlett was appointed matron of Yallambi, the first home built by the Baptist Homes Trust. Friends had persuaded her – in the ladies’ rest rooms at Sydney’s Central Baptist Church – to apply for the position. She was the Trust’s first, and at that time only, employee. ‘I was “it”’, she said. ‘No one knew how to run a nursing home. I was presented with this beautiful new building, but it wasn’t gauzed in. I insisted on having it gauzed in before I put anyone in. I’d lived nearby as a child and I knew about the mosquitoes there.’ Marge was a force to be reckoned with. Graham Henderson used to play in the corridors of Yallambi while his mother, Dorothy, helped Marge. He recalls that Matron Bartlett ‘was a tall and imposing woman and to tell the truth, I was a little fearful of her. This was probably because she castigated the Iliffe, Church and Henderson children unmercifully when she caught us conducting wheelchair races in the hallways. She did, in fact, have a heart of gold and gave loving and selfless care to all those in her charge’. As a trained nurse, Marge fully appreciated her professional obligations to those under her care. Quickly, however, she realised her new employer required something extra of her. ‘They said they wanted a home and not a hospital, an atmosphere where guests must feel instinctively loved and wanted, truly at home.’ Marge took seriously the aspiration that ‘any reference or thing which might tend to create an institutional atmosphere will be absent’, and kept medical equipment hidden behind closed doors. She would argue with architects (‘There will be no lip at the door where medical equipment is hidden… it’s on trolleys!’), and knew the personal likes and dislikes of every guest (‘Mary doesn’t take milk in her tea; Jean likes gravy only on her potatoes.’). Marge knew daily time with God would help the many guests from Baptist churches feel at home. As a woman of faith herself it was a joy to offer worship before morning tea each day.
Marge installed a pigsty on an unused section of Yallambi land, and it provided effective kitchen waste disposal. When the pigs got sick, Marge administered their penicillin injections herself. Marge was seconded in 1957 to establish Niola Nursing Home in Parkes as a home for aged men and women. ‘I was very cross with the Trust and God for sending me there’, Marge recalled. But in Parkes she met Elwin Field – a great supporter of the Trust and honorary secretary of its Western District Board of Management. ‘Twenty years later’, she said, ‘I came back as a bride!’ As Margery Field, she became a tireless force in the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Niola Board. Marge worked with the Trust at Yallambi, then Waldock Nursing Home until she married Elwin in 1977. That same year, she was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and an OAM for services to nursing. In 1997, Marge was appointed an Honorary Life Member of Baptist Community Services. In her later years, Niola became her home.
‘I was very cross with the Trust and God for sending me there’, Marge recalled. But in Parkes she met Elwin Field – a great supporter of the Trust and honorary secretary of its Western District Board of Management. ‘Twenty years later’, she said, ‘I came back as a bride!’
Karingal, named for an Aboriginal phrase meaning ‘happy camp’, opened in Mosman in November 1956. Twenty-nine-year-old Lola Cousemacker began as matron two months prior to the opening, to prepare the home to receive children. She remained until Karingal closed, retiring in 1986 as the upward trend in fostering and adopting children reduced the need for large children’s homes. During the thirty years that Karingal remained open, Lola cared for 168 children and placed many others in foster care. In the months leading up to Karingal’s opening, Lola worked with Dorothy Henderson and other volunteers to turn the ramshackle house into a home. Dorothy’s daughter, Anne Low, remembers Karingal fondly, having visited many times. She recalls there were already some children in residence despite the work still being done. ‘I even picked out a little sister,’ she recalls, ‘who I tried to convince Mum and Dad to take home’. Betty Checkley was one of the district welfare officers involved in placing children at Karingal, and later at Ruhamah. She was so impressed with the work of the Baptist Homes Trust that she joined the council in 1968. Her thirty-odd years of service with the Trust included twenty-three years as the president of the Ladies’ Auxiliary, a position she held until it was disbanded. Betty was a driving force behind the opportunity shops. Betty’s work with the Trust was recognised with Honorary Life Membership of Baptist Community Services. She was awarded an OAM in 2002. Under Karingal's licencing arrangements, the home could accept girls of all ages and boys until they were seven. Legislation required older boys to be moved to an all-boys home. Lola was anxiety-ridden when her beloved boys started to turn seven. She ‘hid’ one boy from authorities, ‘like Moses in the bull-rushes’, until he was nine. When the Baptist Homes Trust opened the boys’ home, Ruhamah, Lola found she had no excuse; some of her lads had to move there. But they were not happy to leave, and Lola was devastated to lose them. She spoke directly to Maisie, an
officer who came to assess Karingal for re-licencing. Lola expressed her determination to keep her boys but, to her disappointment, Maisie told her the rule was not within her jurisdiction to change. However, a few weeks later, she phoned Lola. ‘I’ve got your licence ready,’ she said, ‘and if you can get Ron Robertson [Lola’s boss] to sign it, you can keep your boys’. When Ron sat down to sign, Lola slid the licence towards him with her hand placed strategically over one section of the document. Months later, Ron observed older boys walking around at Karingal. ‘Lola,’ he said, ‘who are all these big fellas wandering around?’ When she told him they were on the licence he had recently signed, Ron realised he had been duped. Lola admitted her trick, and the boys stayed. At a Karingal reunion many years later, a boy named Mike returned. He told Lola he had deliberately come just to ask her one question: ‘Why did you send me to Ruhamah?’ Lola explained the legislation to him. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I could never forgive it. It was just the wrong thing to do.’ Despite this difficult moment, the reunion was an occasion of joyful reminiscence. Thirty-one children returned from around Australia, with one man traveling all the way from America. ‘Wouldn’t have missed it for anything, Mum’, was his comment. Lola summed up the day: ‘We had a great day! I got enough hugs to last a lifetime and I was one very proud mum, because they are a great bunch of kids’.
In the months leading up to Karingal’s opening, Lola worked with Dorothy Henderson and other volunteers to turn the ramshackle house into a home.
For the children During the thirty years that Karingal remained open, Lola cared for 168 children and placed many others in foster care.
1 Lola Cousemacker with some of the Karingal children, 1960s/1970s. 2 Karingal.
Lola Cousemacker, OAM at the opening of Karingal, 1956.
Good one, Mum In 1980, Lola was awarded an OAM for her service in the field of youth welfare. Telegrams and letters of congratulation poured in, but the most appreciated was a note scrawled on a pad in the kitchen, ‘Good one, Mum’.
‘A little voice kept niggling in the back of my head, and I became convinced this children’s home, not New Guinea, was my “mission field”.’
Lola Cousemacker, OAM 30
Lola Cousemacker, OAM As the first and only matron at Karingal, Lola Cousemacker was a pioneer among the early operators of small group family homes and short-term emergency placements. But she was a reluctant starter. When her pastor suggested she apply to be matron, she initially dismissed the idea. As the youngest of six siblings, she believed she knew nothing about children. She didn’t consider either her farm upbringing or the three nursing certificates she had completed would equip her to work with children. Instead, she wanted to be a missionary nurse in New Guinea. However, Lola had one unique insight she knew would enable her to relate to the children likely to come to Karingal. She understood what sudden separation from a parent meant – her mother had been killed by a train while Lola was in nursing training. Her own grief and distress (which was compounded some years later when her father also died unexpectedly) could help her to identify with children as they entered Karingal and realised they were there to stay. ‘A little voice kept niggling in the back of my head, and I became convinced this children’s home, not New Guinea, was my “mission field”’, she recalls. Lola’s speech at Karingal’s opening revealed her ambivalence about her new role, her quiet sense of conviction, and her deep trust that God would help her: ‘I’m not sure what I’m in for in this work, I’m only sure of two things. I’m sure of my calling and I’m very sure of the One who called me.’ Lola did indeed feel the children’s pain when they entered Karingal. She set about creating a home filled with love ‘that can be seen by people who are blind and heard by people who are deaf’, believing every child has a right to call somewhere home. Karingal quickly became a place ‘where we love and are loved’. Lola nurtured an environment of mutual respect, where children could feel safe being themselves. She assured children they were loved even as she corrected their behaviour. It was important to her that her children not be
coerced into doing the right thing, but chose to do so. While explaining the possible outcomes of their choices, she also encouraged them to accept the results if they chose a destructive course. Her approach seemed to work. Learning to respect her fair discipline, the children began to see her as a ‘substitute mum’. They asked one day why she didn’t come to their school Open Day. Lola said she thought they might be embarrassed to introduce her as Matron. ‘But we won’t’, they said. ‘We’re going to tell everyone you’re our mum, because that’s what you are.’ When one Karingal girl was offered adoption, the hopeful couple outlined a new way of life for her. ‘No,’ she said, turning towards Lola, ‘I don’t want to be bought. I’d rather stay with Mum.’ The mother of another young girl came back into her life, took her out a few times and wanted her to leave Karingal. This was a matter for the Family Court. After the mother outlined her reasons, the judge called the girl to him. ‘What do you want me to do, lass?’ he asked her. She replied, ‘I don’t want to go. I want to stay with this mum.’ Some of the children were wards of the state, so welfare officers would routinely visit Karingal. On one such occasion the welfare officer commented to Lola, ‘You know, I love to come here. When I visit the children, they stop what they’re doing, answer me politely, then go back playing – just being natural kids. I go into our [state] homes and the children cling around my skirts, saying “Will you take me with you?” Here, the children couldn’t care less who I am. It’s a pleasure to come’. Karingal was Lola’s life. Although the Trust gave her everything she asked for, there was little extra staffing help and she took few holidays. Occupational health and safety legislation was a thing of the future. On the rare occasions she took a break, the youngest ones went with her, so they would not suffer further loss.
1986 Lola officially retired in November 1986, and a special service of appreciation was held in her honour. She was awarded Honorary Life Membership of Baptist Community Services in 1997.
Lola Cousemacker, OAM.
The children saw Lola’s life lived out before them, whether she was under enormous pressures or playing with them in times of fun. They found her to be so completely authentic, and her love for them so utterly unconditional, that many were drawn to the Christ whose love she expressed day by day. ‘My reward has been to see so many of our young people come to know the Lord Jesus. I have contact with lots of them and they are the greatest. I’m so proud to be their “mum” and glad to have had a small part in helping them along the way.’ In 1980, Lola was awarded an OAM for her service in the field of youth welfare. Telegrams and letters of congratulation poured in, but the most appreciated was a note scrawled on a pad in the kitchen, ‘Good one, Mum’. Lola officially retired in November 1986, and a special service of appreciation was held in her honour. She was awarded Honorary Life Membership of Baptist Community Services in 1997. Following her retirement, Lola’s ministry continued from a property in Seaforth specifically purchased and supported by BaptistCare to suit her evolving ‘grandmother’ role. One of her Karingal girls had given birth to a son, Charles, who was totally blind and had cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities. Lola cared for Charles at the Seaforth home until he was thirty-eight and she was ninety-two. It was only when she needed to be cared for herself that she agreed to release him into other care and moved into BaptistCare’s Dorothy Henderson Lodge. Lola’s grown children, many married with families of their own, continue to phone, write and visit her there.
‘My reward has been to see so many of our young people come to know the Lord Jesus. I have contact with lots of them and they are the greatest. I’m so proud to be their “mum” and glad to have had a small part in helping them along the way.’
Lola Cousemacker, OAM
Niola Nursing Home (1957–present)
Niola Nursing Home, formerly a twelve-bed private maternity cottage-hospital in Parkes, reopened in 1957 as an eighteen-bed home for aged men and women. In 1957, the minister of the Parkes Baptist Church, Rev. JC Owen, was increasingly concerned about the needs of older women in his congregation. He approached the Trust to see if it could help. Having warmed to the idea, the Trust moved quickly when the opportunity arose to purchase Niola. Volunteers were and remained important to Niola. The Parkes community, especially the Parkes Baptist Church, took an active interest from the outset. Elwin Field, a member of the church, became secretary of the newly established Parkes Auxiliary (later known as the Western District Regional Advisory Board and then the Western District Board of Management), formed to assist in the establishment and management of the new home. He held this role for forty years. Elwin’s brother, Ron Field, was president of the board for many years. The men and women of the management board were practical people, many of them farmers, and whenever repair and maintenance needs arose, they often did the work themselves. Volunteers including Dorothy Henderson and her family, travelled all the way from Sydney to Parkes to help establish Niola. Dorothy’s daughter, Anne Low, was a small child at the time. She remembers driving to Parkes for Niola’s official opening in November 1957: Even my grandfather, Mum’s dad, came to help my dad hang all the pictures. They had loaded all the artwork on a roof rack on top of the car. Unfortunately, the load moved and all the pictures slipped off onto the road! Miraculously there was no car following, no pictures were broken and they all were safe. When Niola opened, three categories of residents were admitted: permanent, temporary and daily. The daily service was provided for elderly people visiting town, offering a place of rest, company for the day and appetising meals.
As such, it was the first facility to provide respite care, some decades ahead of government. Niola’s first guest was a homeless man. At ninety-five, he had lived for many years in a galvanised shed under the sportsground scoreboard. He would stand beneath a gum tree to eat his bully-beef lunch from a tin, escaping both the heat of his shed and the ants. A local taxi driver, who had been collecting this gentleman’s pension and delivering his supplies for decades, brought him to Niola. He found peace in the shade of Niola’s wide verandah, celebrating his ninety-sixth and ninety-seventh birthdays in the secure safety of his new home.
The men and women of the management board were practical people, many of them farmers, and whenever repair and maintenance needs arose, they often did the work themselves.
Firsts Niola was a place of firsts: It was the first time that the Trust acquired an existing facility instead of building its own. It was the Trust’s first home to accommodate men as well as women. It was the first time chickens were kept to supply fresh eggs. It was the first time the Trust ventured into regional NSW. 1
1 Niola when purchased, 1957. 2 Niola Nursing Home during the early days of the Trust 3 Niola’s gardens, 2018.
It was the catalyst for the first Baptist Homes Trust romance, between employees Margery Bartlett and Elwin Field. 2
1957 Niola, formerly a twelvebed private maternity cottage-hospital in Parkes, reopened in 1957 as an eighteen-bed home for aged men and women
1952 The Ladies’ Auxiliary was officially formed in 1952–1953. Beatrice Sheppard was inaugural president until 1959, followed by Ruth Castle until 1972 and Betty Checkley, who served until the auxiliary’s closure in 1999.
First contributions The Ladies’ Auxiliary’s first recorded contributions included providing Yallambi with such practical items as a breadcutting machine and a preserving set. In addition, they pitched in to help run the home each Saturday morning.
1 The Ladies’ Auxiliary sorting pre-loved clothing for opportunity shops. 2 Ladies from the Macarthur Auxiliary, 1999. 3 Betty Checkley, OAM. 4 Betty Checkley, OAM and Phyllis Walton at Government House, Sydney, 9 May 2002. 3
The Ladies’ Auxiliary The Ladies’ Auxiliary was formed in 1952–1953. Beatrice Sheppard was the inaugural president until 1959, followed by Ruth Castle until 1972, and Betty Checkley who served until the auxiliary’s closure in 1999. Without the Ladies’ Auxiliary, Yallambi, Karingal and other early homes would have struggled. The work undertaken by the women of the auxiliary remains the stuff of legend. They made curtains and bedspreads. They painted and renovated. They cleaned and they cooked. Every Sunday night, auxiliary member Dorothy Henderson made gallons of pumpkin soup for the guests at Yallambi, giving matron Margery Bartlett and her minimal staff one well-earned night off per week. The Ladies’ Auxiliary’s first recorded contributions included providing Yallambi with such practical items as a breadcutting machine and a preserving set. In addition, they pitched in to help run the home each Saturday morning. Isobel Church, FJ’s wife, was a member of the auxiliary, but even before its official commencement, she took a keen and generous interest in Yallambi Elderly Ladies’ Home. As the new home was being designed and built, the council of the Trust willingly submitted to her creative judgement, particularly in the critical months prior to its opening. Isobel engaged closely with Margery Bartlett and the Trust to iron out issues in the new facility, addressing unforeseen difficulties and establishing working procedures. As the running of the home became smoother, she turned her attention to the comfort, problems and joys of the guests.
By the mid-fifties, sixty ladies had enrolled as members of the auxiliary, with forty of them actively involved. Their annual fundraising spring fete and flower shows became famous in the district. Women from local, regional and country churches provided gifts for well-stocked stalls. The auxiliary and volunteers from other churches conducted opportunity sales and other fundraisers, enabling the installation of venetian blinds and carpet in the guest lounge room at Yallambi. The Ladies’ Auxiliary undertook other ventures as well. They hosted Christmas dinners for Yallambi guests and staff, complete with carols, musical items and personal gifts for those who attended. Members fully supported the various opportunity shops that opened in strategic locations. Anne Low recalls these ‘were always very time consuming. My mother and others sorted donated clothes, delivered them to the shops and took their turn serving behind the counter’. Then there were the street stalls where cakes, jams, knitted outfits and many and varied sewn items were sold to raise funds. ‘Our dining room table was often covered with items to be sent to some facility or another, or there would be fabric ready to be made into children’s clothes and dolls by a dedicated group of ladies’, Anne remembers. ‘There were not too many women in the Trust’s homes in that era who did not have one or two of these dolls sitting on their beds.’ The auxiliary also raised funds by hosting fashion parades from local dress shops during the 1960s and 1970s.
The work undertaken by the women of the auxiliary remains the stuff of legend.
Rev. Don Crawford and Rev. John Cox during the early days of community services, 1985.
Emerging guidance The opening of Karingal in 1956 had provided parents and children with an avenue to seek counselling and support during court appearances in matters of custody.
The Trust received many requests from church ministers to act as a social service agency. It developed a guide to social services for them and formed committees to address issues such as adoption and prisoner rehabilitation.
Early community services In its very first annual report of July 1945, the Baptist Homes Trust records an unsolicited offer of a property ‘for the purpose of establishing another social service activity’. Despite having power under the constitution to make the purchase, lack of funds and donations from churches meant the offer could not be accepted. Deeply disturbed by the magnitude of social welfare need in the community, and acutely conscious of Jesus’ call to care for the aged, the sick, the orphaned and the poor, the Trust chafed against its financial constraints. Ten years later, with the Trust well-established, a family guidance service was emerging within the framework of routine activities. The opening of Karingal in 1956 had provided parents and children with an avenue to seek counselling and support during court appearances in matters of custody. Running parallel to residential care, this emerging guidance service helped more than one hundred individuals, couples and families, both within the Trust’s existing homes and services, and through referral to other agencies. The Trust had also begun helping single mothers find employment and accommodation for themselves and their children. Practical assistance and referrals were provided to men and women who found themselves suddenly deserted by their partners. Wives were being assisted to secure legal custody of their children and maintenance from wayward husbands. A foster home service, mostly with Baptist families, was also in place as an adjunct to the work of the children’s homes, Karingal and Ruhamah. Initially, the two homes had offered accommodation for an average of three weeks at a time, between them caring for almost one hundred children. There was also need, however, for short term accommodation for children whose parents were, for example, in hospital or temporarily homeless, and for
children waiting for permanent placement or Christmas holiday placement when the children’s homes were closed. Throughout the years, Lola Cousemacker enlisted the help of friends who made their homes available for these shortterm emergency placements. Several of the short-term placements were extended and led to permanent foster care or adoption, although this was not the intended outcome and the Trust did not actively seek adoption work. Nevertheless, during 1959–1960, four adoptions were completed. The Trust worked in partnership with the Church of England Adoption Agency and encouraged prospective parents to apply directly to the NSW Child Welfare Department. The Trust received many requests from church ministers to act as a social service agency. It developed a guide to social services for them and formed committees to address issues such as adoption and prisoner rehabilitation. It also set up a Baptist Community Service Council to strengthen and develop all aspects of community service. The journey towards BaptistCare’s current involvement with social welfare had begun.
The Trust had also begun helping single mothers find employment and accommodation for themselves and their children.
By law, boys had to leave Karingal, the Trust’s first children’s home, by the age of seven. In order to provide continuing care, in May 1959 Ruhamah was established in Mortdale as a cottage-type home for ten boys of various ages. The house chosen was already called Ruhamah, a Hebrew word meaning ‘the one who has been spared’, or ‘compassion’. The Baptist Homes Trust decided to retain the name as it summed up so well what they hoped the home would provide for the boys who lived there. The first house parents, from 1959 to 1962, were Roger and Glad Waugh. They were followed by Fred and Barbara Siers. Fred and Barbara, who had two sons of their own, became house parents to ten extra boys. Reflecting on their first year, they observed, ‘No other year in our lives has done so much for us. We have met face to face with families broken by death, desertion, divorce and other domestic disturbances, causing sorrow, and out of it all we have been privileged to bring sunshine back into the lives of little children’.
They experienced first-hand the generosity of the Baptist community. Many people brought donations and gifts, while others fostered the boys during holiday periods. The Siers’ greatest satisfaction lay in seeing troubled boys learn to live in harmony with others again, and take note of the change possible through discovering the love and life of Jesus. During its twenty-two years of operation, care and hospitality were provided for more than seventy boys. In February 1982, the ministry of Ruhamah changed direction, providing accommodation for adolescent girls until it ceased operating in December 1984.
The house chosen was already called Ruhamah, a Hebrew word meaning ‘the one who has been spared’, or ‘compassion’.
1 Ruhamah, circa 1976. 2 The Siers family at Ruhamah, late 1970s.
During its twenty-two years of operation, care and hospitality were provided for more than seventy boys.
1 The Siers family at Ruhamah, 1962. 2 Ruhamah when purchased, 1959. 3 The Siers family at Ruhamah, late 1970s. 1
The first house parents, from 1959 to 1962, were Roger and Glad Waugh. They were followed by Fred and Barbara Siers. Fred and Barbara, who had two sons of their own, became house parents to ten extra boys.
1982 In February 1982, the ministry of Ruhamah changed direction, providing accommodation for adolescent girls until it ceased operating in December 1984.
1960–1969 During this decade, the Baptist Homes Trust consolidated its existing facilities and expanded into rural aged care. New homes opened in Parkes, Newcastle, Canberra and the Blue Mountains, managed by regional boards of local volunteers. It was also a time of further expansion into social welfare.
Left: Shalom Centre at time of building (1962).
Elwin Field Elwin Field was a major player in the establishment of Niola Nursing Home in Parkes. Even prior to the official opening of Niola in November 1957, he initiated the establishment of the Parkes Auxiliary (later known as the Western District Regional Advisory Board and then the Western District Board of Management) and took the position as its first honorary secretary. During the 1960s, Elwin and his team were responsible for appointing staff, paying accounts and salaries, and managing resident admissions. They undertook renovations to Niola in 1971. Elwin inspired and encouraged others and was prepared to carry out much of the work himself, rolling up his sleeves to help with the building demolition and major alterations. During the same period, the Baptist Homes Trust was expanding quickly through regional NSW. The Trust council
and office staff found that Elwin set the benchmark for regional management. They could depend on him to be efficient, timely and thorough. Their confidence in and respect for Elwin’s judgement was demonstrated by his involvement in major decisions, policy development and property purchases. In September 1978, Elwin and his brother, Ron Field, then president of the board, laid the foundation stone for an eighteen-bed extension that would make Niola a fifty-bed nursing home. That year, Ron Robertson, then director of the Trust, observed, ‘Mr Field is a practical man. Some practical men do not shine on administrative work, but Mr Field has shone’. In 1997, Elwin and his second wife, Margery (nee Bartlett), were awarded Honorary Life Memberships of Baptist Community Services.
Elwin inspired and encouraged others and was prepared to carry out much of the work himself...
Ron Field and Elwin Field laying the foundation stone for extensions at Niola Nursing Home, 2 September 1978.
In 1997, Elwin and his second wife, Margery (nee Bartlett), were awarded Honorary Life Memberships of Baptist Community Services.
Marion Andersen (nee Bridgland) Marion’s story with the Baptist Homes Trust began in 1955. Recently arrived in Sydney, she went to the Central Baptist Church office seeking work among the elderly. She was given FJ Church’s office address and called in to speak to him. After she explained why she was there, FJ arranged an appointment with Yallambi matron Margery Bartlett, who was in desperate need of another trained nurse. ‘I had little idea of what to expect’, says Marion. ‘Imagine my delight when I drove into the circular drive and saw before me a modern, imposing brick building with beautifully laid out gardens. I thought, “Oh Lord, what a beautiful place this would be to work in!”’ Marion proved to be a versatile and capable member of staff. During her seven years nursing at Yallambi, she served as acting matron while Marge was seconded to Parkes to establish Niola. When the Lismore Baptist Church considered establishing an aged care facility in 1958, Marion was sent to inspect the proposed property and report on its suitability. Later, she returned to Lismore to help establish the home. In November 1959, the Trust council appointed Marion as matron designate of the soon-to-be-constructed Shalom in Marsfield. For three years, Marion worked alongside Margery Bartlett and the architects to design the Shalom nursing home and self-care units. Shalom’s foundation stone was laid in September 1961 and upon its opening the Trust council confirmed Marion as Shalom’s founding matron. She served as Shalom’s matron throughout most of the 1960s, establishing her reputation as a gracious, dignified and competent woman. She left in 1967 to marry Rev. Neville Andersen, Dean of the Baptist Theological College.
Marion Andersen (nee Bridgland) speaks at the sod turning of the newly rebuilt Shalom, February 2005.
‘Imagine my delight when I drove into the circular drive and saw before me a modern, imposing brick building with beautifully laid out gardens. I thought, “Oh Lord, what a beautiful place this would be to work in!”.’
(1960–1972) In 1959, World Refugee Year, the Trust began a ministry to a group of refugees known as the White Russians. These were people who had fled from Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent rise of the Communist state. Numbers of these stateless people had found precarious refuge in China, but subsequently needed to leave when Communism took root there as well. The Australian Baptist World Aid and Relief Committee (ABWARC), the body which would usually have looked after such people, had no facilities where they could set up and manage a home for refugees. ABWARC asked the Trust to consider entering into a partnership venture. When the Trust responded positively, ABWARC advised the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), that it would take responsibility for twenty of these refugees (the number rose eventually to twenty-seven). Through its relief committee, the Baptist Union of Australia (BUA) accepted responsibility to provide a suitable property. The committee found an ‘attractive cottage’ in Randwick, which the Trust agreed to purchase (sharing the cost with ABWARC), manage and maintain to create a home for the refugees. The Old Testament describes a system of refuge cities where people fleeing for their lives could find asylum. In a clear statement of purpose, the Trust named the new house Hebron, after one of these cities. Russian Baptists in Sydney helped minister to these refugees. The first three refugees arrived on 12 June 1960, the last on 3 October 1964. Every care was given to these White Russian refugees who found protection at Hebron from the intense poverty and persecution they had known in China. Only one could speak English when they arrived, and the language barrier and other cultural problems were met with unique methods characterised by patience and
love. Residents were themselves patient and resourceful. A one-legged eighty-three-year-old man was troubled by a crack in the wooden leg he had brought from Hong Kong. Helped by a fellow guest, he solved the problem with a saw, plane, knives and sandpaper, shaping a new leg from a substantial willow log. By March 1972, only two refugees were still in residence in Hebron. The others had either moved to private accommodation or had died. The last two residents were moved to Trust nursing homes that year. Anna Onofreichuk, the last of the refugees, died at Morling Lodge on 2 October 2000. In 1972, Hebron was sold. ABWARC generously made no claim on the funds it had invested, so proceeds of the sale came to the Trust for the purchase of other property for homes for the aged.
The Old Testament describes a system of refuge cities where people fleeing for their lives could find asylum. In a clear statement of purpose, the Trust named the new house Hebron, after one of these cities.
1964 The first three refugees arrived on 12 June 1960, the last on 3 October 1964.
1972 By March 1972, only two refugees were still in residence, with the others either moving on to private accommodation or passing away.
Anna Onofreichuk, the last of the refugees, passed away at BaptistCare’s Morling Lodge on 2 October 2000.
1–2 Hebron, home to Russian refugees, 1960–1972. 3 Residents of Hebron. 4 (L to R) June Heinrich, AM, Anna Onofreichuk and Roger Peffer, OAM, 2000.
Allan Richards was a member of the Baptist Homes Trust’s Canberra Regional Board from its inception in 1961. As an architect, he was involved in selecting the sites for Morling Lodge and Carey Gardens.
In response to an extensive waiting list for Yallambi Elderly Ladies’ Home, in the early 1960s the Baptist Homes Trust decided a new facility was required. This new home would be called Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, in an overt affirmation of the Trust’s mandate to create homes of peace. Marion Bridgland, deputy matron at Yallambi, was appointed matron of the proposed new home and worked closely with the architect on its design.
Morling Lodge had its beginnings in 1962 when a group of Canberra Baptists directed the attention of the Trust council to the needs of the aged in the ACT. On 10 June 1963, the Canberra Regional Board agreed that Allan act as liaison between the architect and the board. At that time, there were no nursing homes in Canberra, so Allan spent considerable time visiting various nursing homes in Sydney gathering ideas for the design of Morling Lodge. This was the beginning of his extended honorary service to the Trust. It involved briefing architects, reviewing plans and specifications, selecting builders and assessing tenders, and site inspections for the three construction stages: the Morling Lodge nursing home, the independent living units, and Carey Gardens. In addition to his involvment in design and construction, Allan played a vital role in maintaining the Canberra facilities. This included upgrading two of the Morling Lodge nursing home accommodation wings to provide state-ofthe-art care for residents living with dementia. It also involved renovating Morling Lodge’s laundry and kitchen, and removing asbestos from its accessible areas. On 20 October 1997, the board of Baptist Community Services appointed Allan an Honorary Life Member in recognition of more than thirty-four years of service and his significant contribution to Morling Lodge and Carey Gardens.
Shalom’s foundation stone was laid in September 1961. Initially accommodating sixty-six people, with twenty-two additional self-care units, the home was opened in August 1962. Despite showers and cold winds, about 3000 people came to celebrate. The hope for the creation of an atmosphere of home was central to FJ Church’s address: Let us never forget that it is not in erecting splendid buildings that our real work lies, but in the giving of loving care to those who live in them.
This new home would be called Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, in an overt affirmation of the Trust's mandate to create homes of peace.
Right: Shalom, 1962.
1962 Initially accommodating sixty-six people, with twenty-two additional self-care units, Shalom was opened in August 1962.
Willandra Village (1962–present) and Wingara Hamlet (1968–present) The 1960s was a decade of enormous growth. The Trust not only built nursing homes, but also branched out to build two villages of independent living units, Willandra Village in Marsfield and Wingara Hamlet in the Blue Mountains. Willandra Village consisted of 166 independent living units built in four stages. The first stage of twenty-two units was built once Shalom had been completed. They were constructed and occupied progressively during 1962 and 1963. The next stage of sixty-two cottage-style units was officially opened in 1967. The third stage of construction comprised sixty-six units on two levels with courtyards to maximise natural lighting, and a village hall, now known as the RE Walker Community Centre. These were opened in 1971. The head office of Baptist Community Services was located on the lower ground floor of the RE Walker Community Centre from 1971 to 1987. The final stage of construction was two blocks of eight units built on two levels. These units were completed in 1978 and were the first units built by the Baptist Homes Trust not funded under the aged persons homes legislation. Wingara is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘water spring’, fitting for a village in this historic locality. Wingara Hamlet was the first venture undertaken by the Baptist Homes Trust in the Blue Mountains, and comprised forty onebedroom independent living units and a communal building nestled among tall timber and landscaped gardens. The name for the hamlet was chosen from twenty-one anonymous competition entries. The councillors of the Trust were pleased to discover their choice of winning entry had been submitted by Jack Robinson, chair of the Blue Mountains board of management, who had worked tirelessly to help plan the village. In 1993 the community lounge was named the Jack Robinson Lounge.
Wingara was built in six stages. The first eight units were opened by Rev. Neville Andersen, president of the Baptist Union of NSW, in 1968. The finance for this stage of Wingara came from a Commonwealth Government grant, donations by the occupants and the Trust’s own funds. In 1969, an additional eight units were constructed. During 1970 two more units were built. During the 1971–1972 financial year, an adjoining triangle of land was purchased to build six additional units of the same design as the existing eighteen units. These units were completed in 1974, increasing the hamlet to twenty-four units. Rev. HK Watson, president of the Baptist Union of NSW, officially opened the Wingara extensions comprising sixteen units and a community lounge, in May 1976 at an event attended by 300 people.
Wingara Hamlet was the first venture undertaken by the Baptist Homes Trust in the Blue Mountains.
Building in stages Willandra: 166 units built in four stages at Willandra, Marsfield. Wingara: Forty units built in six stages at Wingara, Springwood.
1 Wingara Hamlet. 2 Willandra Village.
1976 Rev. HK Watson, president of the Baptist Union of NSW, officially opened the Wingara extensions comprising sixteen units and a community lounge, in May 1976 at an event attended by 300 people.
Betty Strothers, OAM Betty Strothers succeeded Marion Bridgland as matron of Shalom in May 1967, having worked as a nursing sister there since October 1964. She was matron for almost twelve years before being appointed supervisor in nursing, responsible for the quality of nursing care across all Baptist Community Services (BCS) aged care facilities. Betty retired on 14 May 1982 and took up residence in BaptistCare’s Willandra Village. The drive and enthusiasm Betty demonstrated during almost eighteen years of service with the Baptist Homes Trust did not wane even after she retired. As a resident in the village, Betty served several terms as president, senior vice president, vice president and secretary of the Willandra Village Council. For several years, Betty was on the preaching roster for the Shalom chapel services, as well as the roster for Friday morning meetings where residents could sing, pray and quietly reflect on their faith.
She continued to work for the betterment of the aged care industry and the welfare of others. She served as a volunteer on the Social Welfare Committee of the Baptist Homes Trust and with the Aged Services Division of the Voluntary Care Association. Betty received an OAM for her work with BCS in 2004.
The drive and enthusiasm Betty demonstrated during almost eighteen years of service with the Baptist Homes Trust did not wane even after she retired.
1 Supervisor of nursing Betty Strothers, OAM, with Rev. David Jones. 2 Betty Strothers, OAM.
Opened on 4 September 1965 before an estimated crowd of 1500, Waldock was the first facility to be named after a person. Rev. Dr Arthur J Waldock, who had instigated the Baptist Forward Movement, had outlived his wife and two children, neither of whom had married. The estate of his son, Prof. John Waldock, came to his father, and was bequeathed in Rev. Waldock’s will to the Trust. At £20,000, it was the Trust’s largest legacy to date, and was allocated to establish two new homes for aged persons. One was the Waldock Nursing Hospital, built on the Carlingford site; the other was Morling Lodge in Canberra. The annual report for 1965 states, with quiet satisfaction, ‘The year will be remembered as that in which Baptists built a hospital’. The first sod had been turned on 17 August 1964, ‘without ceremony, unless one counts the unofficial spadework of two senior citizens from Yallambi, 200 yards away’. The keen interest displayed by these Yallambi folk living close by had them dubbed unofficial supervisors as the building work unfolded. Facing Homelands Avenue, Carlingford, Waldock provided for those already in Trust homes, and for others from the community. The stated vision was for a 'building that will be as efficient and homely as love and skilful planning can make it’, where the elderly, when unwell, would be loved and cared for by dedicated nurses. It aimed to be a place of sunshine, with wards facing a covered sun deck, wind breaks and a multipurpose solarium facing north.
This new forty-one-bed building was ‘a hospital having features that will make it a home’, according to the information sheet provided at the opening ceremony. ‘Today as you walk through Waldock’, people read, ‘you will be aware it has a homely look, an impression reinforced by the provision of comforts and the minimum use of some materials usually associated with hospitals’. A case in point was the use of white vinyl and natural wood finishes instead of the usual hospital stainless steel and gloss paint. Even as it provided first class nursing care, the focus was to be on ‘homemaking services that aim to make Waldock a hospital with a difference’. The difference would be ‘measurable in terms of those details that give aged patients a feeling of individual care’. This included providing kitchen equipment suitable for use by those preparing to go home. Waldock operated for more than fifty years. In 2017, residents were transferred to the new nursing home, The Gracewood Centre, and the old buildings were demolished.
It aimed to be a place of sunshine, with wards facing a covered sundeck, wind breaks and a multipurpose solarium facing north.
Staff took a proactive approach to wellness, encouraging patients where possible to get out of bed and enjoy sitting or walking in the sunshine. Beds were equipped with the latest technology – a radio and earphones to hear in-house and radio programs as well as staff announcements. Opened by the Hon. AH Jago, minister for health, this new hospital would be a modern expression of the pioneers’ early aspiration to create buildings characterised by ‘an atmosphere of home … where everyone feels instinctively that they are loved and wanted, that they are really “at home”'.
1â&#x20AC;&#x201A; (L to R) Architect Harold Hodges, builder Fil Zadro and FJ Church, OBE, OAM, president of the Baptist Homes Trust, at the Waldock Nursing Hospital unveiling, 1964. 2â&#x20AC;&#x201A; Rear of the Waldock Nursing Hospital, 1965. 60
1965 Opened on 4 September 1965 before an estimated crowd of 1500, Waldock was the first facility to be named after a person: Rev. Dr Arthur J Waldock.
Waldock operated for more than fifty years. In 2017, residents were transferred to the new nursing home, The Gracewood Centre, and the old buildings were demolished.
Morling Lodge (1968–2015)
In 1961, a Canberra Regional Board of Baptist Community Services was formed with Rev. Fred McMaster as chair. At that time there were no nursing homes in Canberra for the frail aged who were unable to care for themselves. After years of planning, the foundation stone for the first stage of a nursing home was laid on 10 September 1967. Situated on ‘a magnificent five-acre site on the south side of Canberra in the shelter of Red Hill’ and built to accommodate thirty-three residents, Morling Lodge opened in March 1968. A second stage was already being planned to accommodate seventy more residents. The federal government had provided a dollar-for-dollar grant for the first stage and contributed funds to the communal rooms and administrative core, both of which were sufficiently spacious to cope with the proposed extensions. The prime minister, Sir John G Gorton, opened the new facility. He was an unexpected and impressive stand-in for his wife who, having been originally invited to undertake the honours, was prevented from doing so by illness. Morling Lodge was named to honour Rev. George H Morling, OBE, principal of the Baptist Theological College of NSW (now called Morling Theological College) from 1923 to 1960, and president general of the Baptist Union of Australia from 1962 to 1965. Within two years, the second stage of construction was complete. Over the years, Morling Lodge continued to expand to keep up with demand and changing needs in aged care. By November 1983, there were 107 residents and by the early nineties, two areas of the home had been modified to provide special care units to safely accommodate residents living with dementia. During 1995, three lounge areas were extended and two special care units were integrated into one area accommodating thirty residents. In 1998, the number of nursing home beds was reduced in order to establish the Extended Aged Care in the Home program. By 2004, the nursing home provided individual residential rooms for eighty-three residents as well as reception and administration areas, five courtyard areas, lounge rooms 62
(including a dementia-specific lounge), a dining room and commercial-style kitchen, staff rooms and amenities, storerooms, and residents’ amenities. By then it had become the Morling Lodge Centre for Aged Care, accommodating the Baptist Community Services Southern Hub Administration Centre, the ACT Transitional Care Unit, Morling Lodge and Morling Lodge Independent Living Units. In 2015 residents were moved nearby to the new BaptistCare Griffith Centre, and the Morling Lodge buildings were later demolished.
The federal government had provided a dollar-for-dollar grant for the first stage and contributed funds to the communal rooms and administrative core.
Rev. Eric and Myrtle Walsham From the early 1940s until the late 1970s, Rev. Eric and Myrtle Walsham ministered to communities in the Hunter Valley district of NSW. They pastored the churches of Stroud (1941–1942), Kogarah Central (1942–1947), Wellington (1947–1959) and Mayfield (1959–1977), where they planted a new church and a children’s home. Eric was president of the Baptist Union of NSW 1957–1958 and was closely involved with the Hunter District Baptist Association for many years. He was president, and later chair, of the Baptist Homes Trust Hunter District board of management that was constituted in 1961, and served on the maintenance committee for several years. When Kara Centre for Aged Care opened in 1970, Eric was appointed chaplain and chair of the board. His chaplain duties ended in 1976, but he continued as chair until 1986. He was a staunch supporter of the Trust. The Morling Lodge entrance, 2001.
Named in honour Morling Lodge was named to honour Rev. George H Morling, OBE, principal of the Baptist Theological College of NSW (now called Morling Theological College) from 1923 to 1960, and president general of the Baptist Union of Australia from 1962 to 1965.
Myrtle joined the Baptist Homes Trust as a councillor in 1945. She was one of the members to inspect the Trust’s original land purchased in North Ryde that was later resumed by the government. Myrtle was a foundation member of the Kara Ladies’ Auxiliary, and served as its president from 1966 to 1979. She described her time on the auxiliary as one of ‘great joy and blessing’. Myrtle was also a member of the NSW Baptist churches’ Hunter District Baptist Association board from 1967 to 1983. In 1992, a new addition to Kara was named the Walsham Wing to recognise Eric and Myrtle’s dedicated service to the Hunter District Board.
A new addition to Kara was named the Walsham Wing to recognise Eric and Myrtle’s dedicated service.
1970–1979 Expansion characterised the 1970s: the Baptist Homes Trust upgraded its existing facilities, expanded its aged care accommodation options and reached further into regional areas. It continued to strengthen and amplify its community services. Plans were drafted to build four additional hostels and nursing homes in the metropolitan area, on the central coast and in the Blue Mountains. By the end of the decade, the Trust managed eighteen facilities – twelve homes and village groups for the aged, four homes for children and young people, a block of flats for single mothers and their children, and a home for ex-prisoners and men on probation. These homes offered accommodation and care to more than 900 people.
Left: The official opening of Thorington, 1973.
Clare Lewis In August 1970, at the recommendation of the executive committee, the Baptist Homes Trust council appointed Clare Lewis as matron of its newest home, Kara Centre for Aged Care, in Newcastle. Prior to this, Clare had been a registered nurse, then deputy matron, at Waldock. Able to put her hand to anything, Clare’s first tasks at Kara included selecting furniture, furnishings and equipment, and appointing staff prior to the new home’s opening. In seeking to ensure Kara would be a true home for the residents, Clare took a keen interest in every individual and treated each one with loving care. Under her excellent leadership and administration, staff maintained high standards of efficiency, care and management.
Kara Centre for Aged Care, 2013.
Clare resigned as matron in 1988. During her service at Kara, Clare was involved with other aged care providers. She was appointed Honorary Life Member of the Aged Services Association – Newcastle. Clare has been a member of BaptistCare since 1974.
Clare took a keen interest in every individual and treated each one with loving care.
Growth of residential and independent living The first stage of Kara Centre for Aged Care, a nursing home in Mayfield comprising thirty-six hostel beds and twenty nursing beds, was officially opened by the Hon. WC Wentworth, minister for social services, on 10 October 1970. The land on Hanbury Street that Kara was built on was purchased from the Mayfield Baptist Church in two lots, in 1960 and 1967. Kara Centre for Aged Care eventually comprised a high-level care component, known as Kara, and a low-level care section, referred to as Kara Lodge. It also housed Karinya Cottage, which accommodated the Hunter Contracts and Hunter Outreach programs. Kara was located relatively close to the University of Newcastle. It provided casual work over the summer break for university students willing to pour tea from enormous pots on trolleys, make beds and empty bedpans. Kara gave naĂŻvely confident young students unexpected insight into what it meant to be one of the frail aged. Rev. Eric Walsham, minister of Mayfield Baptist Church, and his wife Myrtle, both gave dedicated service to the Kara Centre through the local Hunter District Board. The Walsham Wing, an extension opened on 13 November 1992, was so named to honour their long dedication. Kara Centre for Aged Care served the Newcastle community for just over forty-five years until it was closed in 2015 and the land sold in 2017. Hayfield Village in Carlingford was completed at the end of 1977 and the first resident arrived in 1978. The village comprised fifty-three self-contained retirement units and a community lounge set within landscaped grounds. The Trust had considered the location carefully to ensure it suited the needs of a range of residents. The site was situated on bus routes to Parramatta, Epping and Pennant Hills, but was also in close proximity to Yallambi and Waldock, providing a total-care complex for about 250 people.
In December 1973, the Trust purchased 2.6 hectares of farmland at Kooringal, on the outskirts of Wagga Wagga. Construction of a new sixty-eight-bed hostel, Caloola Court, commenced in June 1978. Inclement weather slowed progress, delaying the ceremony to lay the foundation stone from 8 October until 3 December 1978. When a small company finally gathered on the site at Kooringal, the weather again intervened â&#x20AC;&#x201C; heavy rain turned enthusiasm into confusion. A convoy of cars hastily carried officials, TV personnel and congregation to the Wagga Wagga Baptist Church where FJ Church laid the stone on the communion table. The architect would lay it in place later. The Hon. Wal Fife, MP officially opened Caloola Court on 21 October 1979.
Kara gave naĂŻvely confident young students unexpected insight into what it meant to be one of the frail aged.
Growth in the 1970s 1970: Kara Centre for Aged Care in Mayfield opened. 1978: Hayfield Village in Carlingford opened. 1979: Caloola Court in Wagga Wagga opened.
Consolidating community services In the early 1970s, the Baptist Homes Trust’s engagement with community services was unexpectedly put at risk. In a carefully-worded 1971 report to the Baptist Homes Trust council, executive secretary Ron Robertson explained that the 1970 Baptist Assembly had voted to set up a new agency to develop a more efficient and comprehensive social welfare program, despite the Trust having carried responsibility for denominational community services from 1957 to 1970. The tone of the report belied the fact that Ron and his associate, Rev. Don Crawford, were outraged. For fourteen years, on behalf of the denomination and under the oversight of the Baptist Community Service Council, the Trust had been responding to people in need – single mothers, young people before the court, children with behavioural difficulties and families needing material and emotional support. The Trust had helped churches build capacity to deal with social issues; they had been involved with seven adoptions and had implemented short-term foster arrangements for twenty-seven children; they had settled 230 migrants from
Helping The Trust helped churches build capacity to deal with social issues and had been involved with: • adoptions of seven children • implementing short-term foster arrangements for twenty-seven children • settling 230 migrants from 114 families • planning to employ a full-time social worker to extend their services.
114 families, and they were planning to employ a full-time social worker to extend their services. Maintaining his judicious reporting tone, Ron informed the council that during the year he and the committee – established by the Baptist Union of churches to trial having a new separate body – had assessed the situation carefully. Together they had decided to recommend to the 1971 Baptist Assembly that the Trust’s Articles of Association be varied to permit the Trust to develop wider services, rather than setting up a separate body entirely. Later, with rather more candour, Ron admitted he had ‘made such a stir’ at the 1971 assembly that the Trust’s recommendation was accepted. The Trust took on a second name, Baptist Community Services – NSW & ACT, which would eventually take precedence.
The Trust took on a second name, Baptist Community Services – NSW & ACT, which would eventually take precedence.
Peter Waldock Peter Waldock was elected to the Baptist Community Trustâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s council in 1963. He served for twenty-five years, ten of which as vice president of the Trust and a member of the executive committee. Peter was chair of the Baptist Community Services (BCS) council during 1970â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1971 when it functioned separately from the Trust. Following the integration of the BCS council into the Social Welfare Committee, Peter continued as chair until 1979, serving on this committee for fourteen years. Peter was known for his concern for those less privileged in the community. In his role on the Social Welfare Committee, he was instrumental in establishing such initiatives as the Chisholm program, counselling services and rehabilitation for ex-prisoners. As an active and concerned member of the council, Peter helped guide the organisation through many difficult situations, giving freely of his time as circumstances demanded. His ability to accurately assess a situation, coupled with his warm and deep perception of peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needs, contributed greatly to the growth of the organisation during his twenty-five years of involvement. The council meeting of 14 October 1988 recorded a minute of appreciation for Peter Waldock, acknowledging his twenty-five years of valuable service as a councillor and member of social and executive committees.
Peter was known for his concern for those less privileged in the community.
(1972–1984) On 21 April 1967, at the request of the Baptist Union of NSW, the Baptist Homes Trust launched a committee to investigate the need for a Christian prison rehabilitation scheme. After more than a year of research under the supervision of Rev. Trevor Fist, the committee recommended a supported residential program to assist prison leavers, and in October 1972, Aratoro – a Maori word meaning ‘new track’ – opened. A residential program located at the crossroads near Liverpool, Aratoro was a staffed halfway house with services designed to help prisoners transition back into the community. The rehabilitation program included prompting probationers or ex-prisoners to consider their values while surrounding them with a small, supportive community. A central motif for this work was a poignant sketch drawn by a prisoner serving a life sentence in Goulburn Correctional Centre. It showed a discharged man returning to society, seen from inside – through the keyhole of the prison gate. The annual reports for Aratoro’s first few years of operation show how providing an atmosphere of home remained a guiding principle. Managers Mr and Mrs Parrish, followed by Ron and Muriel Ringer, were responsible for ensuring Aratoro provided family life, a homely atmosphere and a secure family home. Aratoro was home for up to eight men at a time, with the number of residents increasing as time progressed. The staff at Aratoro worked with men on probation, on parole or following a prison sentence. The work proved challenging, with mixed results. Early annual reports are candid in acknowledging that ‘results were not outstanding’, and that finding satisfying employment for the men continued to be a difficult task. Nevertheless, there were encouraging moments. Several members or ex-members of the Aratoro family made ‘considerable progress in finding a better life’, and by the end of its fourth year of operation Aratoro had been home to thirty-two men. Despite the challenges, Aratoro saw substantial growth. In contrast to the mid-1970s, which saw thirty-two men access Aratoro over four years, 1980 saw thirty men move through the home in just one year. By this time, the 70
Aratoro program had also garnered significant respect, having both attracted and kept a State Department of Corrective Services grant for staff salaries. In December 1981, in response to the home’s growth, the Trust appointed Ross Coleman as a welfare worker to assist the Aratoro program. Ross visited men prior to their release to prepare them for Aratoro, offered friendship and counselling while men were in the home, and kept in contact with them after they left. The program drew forty-one men to Aratoro during the 1982–1983 reporting year, mostly for short-term stays. When Ron and Muriel Ringer retired in April 1984, the Trust was unable to enlist suitable residential managers for the home. Aratoro was closed and the ministry to prisoners was reorientated. While continuing his visitation ministry to men in gaol and on parole, Ross also assisted the Regents Park Baptist Church with their unemployment rehabilitation program. At this time, the Trust developed a successful joint venture with Prison Fellowship NSW that lasted about ten years. Contributing financially and with volunteers, this partnership operated across twenty-three prisons. The Trust also supported the Life After Prison Program to provide transition homes for prisoners re-entering society and the workforce. By the end of the 1980s, the Trust had 170 trained volunteers working in prisoner support.
The rehabilitation program included prompting probationers or ex-prisoners to consider their values while surrounding them with a small, supportive community.
1 Ron and Muriel Ringer, managers of Aratoro for more than six years, 1972. 2 The sketch drawn by a prisoner serving a life sentence in Goulburn Correctional Centre. 3 Aratoro, June 1974.
A second chance • In the mid-1970s, thirty-two men accessed Aratoro over four years. • 1980 saw thirty men move through the home in just one year. • Forty-one men went through Aratoro during the 1982–1983 reporting year. • By the end of the 1980s, the Trust had 170 trained volunteers working in prisoner support.
A generous benefactor 2
1–2 Child care. 3 Fred and Barbara Siers, houseparents at Ruhamah from August 1962 to May 1981. 4 Alfred S White and WC Langshaw from the NSW Department of Child Welfare. 4
In early 1972, Alfred S White unexpectedly donated $400,000 (millions in today’s currency) to purchase and maintain more homes for children. This assisted with the establishment of Thorington in 1973 and Carisbrook in 1975.
Caring for kids By the beginning of the 1970s, there were more children being referred to the Baptist Homes Trust than there were beds at Karingal and Ruhamah. Another home for children was urgently needed, but the Trust didn’t quite have the budget for more property. Then, in early 1972, Alfred S White unexpectedly donated $400,000 (millions in today’s currency) to purchase and maintain more homes for children. Alfred and his wife Dorothy, members of Pymble Baptist Church, were already generous volunteers with the Trust. For decades they had served in honorary roles – Alfred as honorary treasurer of denominational trust funds, and Dorothy on the board of the Royal Ryde Homes – giving them insight into the Trust’s needs. In May 1973, within fifteen months of the Whites' donation, the Trust opened another children’s home, Thorington, in Corrimal. Children aged five to ten years were under the gentle care and guidance of house parents John and Betty Thornton. During its operation – which ceased in December 1981 – seventeen children were accommodated in the home. Carisbrook, located in Auburn, was the second Alfred S White home. It was opened by Dorothy White, Alfred and Dorothy’s daughter, in 1975. It operated as a home for a small group of high school aged girls until 1978, when it was changed to provide a residential childcare service.
In the 1970s, the need for childcare services beyond homes became pressing. In 1974, the Trust – at this time also known as Baptist Community Services – established the Baptist Child Care Association to support the provision of preschool, childcare and play group services by churches and other organisations. The association had a membership of about sixty Baptist churches and church organisations, representing more than 4000 children in preschools and playtime groups. It enabled its member groups to share information, including new childcare techniques, research findings and industrial matters, until it ceased operation in 1998. On 12 October 1976, the Trust incorporated Baptist Child Care Centres Limited to assist churches to establish, conduct and run childcare centres. After operating with mixed success for eight years, the Trust council resolved that the company be placed in voluntary liquidation. During the first half of the 1970s, Baptist Community Services entered a co-operative program with the Auburn Baptist Church (ABC) to conduct the ABC Preschool. In May 1975, the NSW Department of Youth and Community Services allocated a grant to help them build and operate it, and the preschool opened a year later. The new building provided for forty children aged three to five years at each session. Children from a range of different ethnic groups attended the preschool, including Chinese, Lebanese, Turkish and Vietnamese. Many of the children did not speak English before attending the preschool.
In the 1970s, the need for childcare services beyond homes became pressing.
John and Betty Thornton When they took on the role of the first house parents for Thorington in 1973, John and Betty Thornton had a keen sense of having been called by God to care for children and to help them live more fully. Before moving to Thorington, they were key members of the Tahmoor Baptist Church, contributing especially to youth programs and as volunteers at the nearby Tahmoor Children’s Home. When they came to Thorington they transferred to the Corrimal Baptist Church, where John became a deacon. The children in their care often lived at Thorington for several years, and John and Betty grew to love them. During their fourth year in the role, the Thorntons told their young charges they were expecting a baby. When Betty visited the children’s school, she found the word had spread. It was the news of the day for one Thorington girl, who told her class, ‘My mum, Aunty Betty, is having a baby, John and Betty Thornton with some of the children of Thorington, 1973.
and Aunty Betty and Uncle John said it’s not only theirs but ours too!’ When baby Jodie was born, the Thorntons saw how much she meant to the other children. Betty’s dedication was recognised in 1976 when she was awarded the Vocation of the Year Award by Woonona Rotary Club, and she and John resigned as house parents a few years later, at the end of 1980. At a farewell function in the Corrimal Baptist Church, the Illawarra Board of Management presented them with a clock in appreciation of the innumerable hours they had given to the children at Thorington.
During their fourth year in the role, the Thorntons told their young charges they were expecting a baby.
Rev. Trevor Fist
The Chisholm program – named after Caroline Chisholm, who worked with vulnerable women in colonial days – opened on 20 May 1974. The program took a two-pronged approach: it offered single mothers and their children access to four mediumterm, low-cost units in Meadowbank, and it provided ongoing, supportive social-work care. This initiative sought to enable vulnerable women to make choices best suited to themselves and their children.
It is difficult to know precisely when Rev. Trevor Fist’s affiliation with BaptistCare began, but it was well established by the time Heathdene Preschool opened in 1975. This innovative ministry assisted thousands of families throughout the years.
In its first year, demand was such that Chisholm was opened to include all parents, mothers or fathers, who found themselves caring for children on their own. The program provided affordable accommodation in suburban home units, with a focus on keeping families together. The homes were within reasonable distance of transport, shops and schools. They offered parents and children a chance to become part of their local community, avoiding isolation while protecting identities if required. From 1994, the program also provided a crisis apartment as emergency housing for women and children who were homeless or escaping violence or abuse. The original crisis apartment remained available until 2007, when a range of new crisis villas and townhouses became available.
Trevor served as a part-time chaplain to gaols in Tasmania and NSW before becoming an honorary part-time chaplain at Baptist Community Services’ Orana Court, on the Central Coast, in 1977. When the NSW Baptist Union executive committee requested an investigation into the need for a Christian rehabilitation scheme, the Prisoner Rehabilitation Committee was convened and Trevor was appointed chair. As an outcome of the committee’s research, the Trust opened Aratoro – a home for ex-prisoners preparing to rejoin the community. Trevor continued to support this service until Aratoro closed in 1984. That same year, he was appointed full-time chaplain with Baptist Community Services, serving at Mary Bladon, Marsfield and again at Orana. Trevor retired as chaplain of Orana in 1990. In retirement he continued to support Orana in a voluntary capacity, as well as working with the West Gosford Lions Club to provide landscaping for the large courtyard of Orana Court. Rev. Trevor Fist.
One of the Chisholm sites – Sainsbury Street, St Marys, 1986.
LifeCare The need for counselling and welfare services among families became increasingly evident once Karingal opened in 1956. Counselling in those early days had been provided by Ron Robertson, matron Lola Cousemacker, volunteer members of the Social Welfare Committee and Rev. Don Crawford (later assistant superintendent of Baptist Community Services). This was augmented by the appointment of the Baptist Homes Trust’s first social worker, Rosalyn Hooper, on 2 August 1972. Rosalyn recommended to the Trust that counselling services be further developed. Accordingly, on 11 May 1973 the Trust council agreed to enlist and train honorary workers. Counselling services took a significant leap forward in 1977, when the Trust took on the administration, fundraising and personnel management for the Mount Druitt Welfare and Youth Service. What had been a unique ministry of the St Marys Baptist Church became part of the Trust’s plan to establish a comprehensive counselling and welfare service. With Rev. Doug Sotheren’s appointment as superintendent of counselling in 1972, the Trust’s counselling work became formalised as Baptist Counselling Services. Two decades later, the name changed to LifeCare Counselling and Family Services. Counselling services have evolved to include individual, couple and group counselling. Services now cover marriage and family education, domestic and family violence support services, group work for children of separated parents and child sexual abuse survivors, and weekend workshops for individuals seeking personal change and growth strategies. Throughout the years, counselling centres have been set up in association with local churches in Bathurst, the Blue Mountains, Canberra, the Central Coast, Illawarra region and Newcastle, as well as the Sydney metropolitan area. The Marsfield Counselling Centre was established in 1982, in offices beneath the original Shalom hostel. This was Doug’s base from which to administer the service and
provide counselling. His work included supervising the Family Life movement, developing and overseeing training programs, supervising counsellors and trainees to ensure a high standard of counselling, and promoting the service to churches and other bodies. The training programs offered at the time covered pastoral counselling, lay pastoral care and marriage enrichment. Those who completed the full program of training were qualified to become members of the Australian Association of Marriage and Family Counsellors (AAMFC). In October 1980, Rev. John Cox was appointed as a counsellor primarily serving the Campbelltown area. When Doug retired in 1985, John took over as superintendent of the counselling service. In 1982 the Trust had accepted responsibility for the Mary Bladon Nursing Home and Hostel in Glassop Street, Bankstown. When LifeCare’s aged care ministry closed in the late 1980s, the counselling services moved from Marsfield to Mary Bladon.
The need for counselling and welfare services among families became increasingly evident once Karingal opened in 1956.
Counselling Today, BaptistCare Counselling and Family Services’ clinically trained staff offer individual counselling, couples counselling, relationship support programs, programs for children and training in a range of specialised areas. This service is underpinned by the belief that each person is unique, loved by God, and worthy of respect, dignity and inclusion.
1 LifeCare at Glassop Street, Bankstown, 1994. 2 A group counselling session at the Tuggerah office, 2016.
1980–1989 During this decade, the Baptist Homes Trust began to mature as an organisation. Its workforce was growing. It was a time of increasing professionalism in aged care, and the Trust took steps to ensure it kept up. Both aged care and welfare services extended throughout the metropolitan area and were developing fast into regional areas. In the face of this unprecedented change, leaders worked hard to ensure the magnitude and pace of growth did not put the original vision at risk.
Left:The FJ Church Community Centre.
Fetes The Ladies’ Auxiliary was formed in 1953 after the opening of Yallambi. By 1959, its work had grown so much that it needed to be divided into four branches, covering the south, west, north and east of Sydney. Continued growth saw branches formed in the Blue Mountains (1967), Illawarra (1971) and in the Hills and Macarthur regions (1980). Four times a year, office bearers from each branch met to report on their local activities and to plan combined events, the largest of which were the annual spring fetes. The first spring fete was held at Yallambi in September 1953. This remained its key location until 1961, after which it was held at Shalom, Willandra Village and Morling Theological College, and eventually in regional locations as well. Volunteers worked hard for months preceding each fete. Their activities included sewing, cooking, knitting, crafting, collecting donated items for the white elephant stall and more. In addition to standard fete stalls, at times there were novel ideas – in 1961 a copper mile of 12,000 pennies raised £50. In 1978, a group of women met at Wollongong Baptist Church to transform six packets of cocoa, eighteen slabs of cake, twenty-five packets of coconut, and twentysix kilos of icing sugar into 1750 lamingtons to be sold at the Willandra Village Fete. They repeated this fundraiser for four years running. Dorothy Henderson was typical of the many women who made these fetes possible. Her daughter, Anne Low, recalls, ‘There was a lot of cutting and sewing of the many children’s clothes to be sold at the various fetes throughout the year’. As a child, Anne was co-opted into selling lavender at the fetes ‘all dressed up in a lilac dress, accompanied by a young boy called Ross Low, whose aunt had grown the lavender. Who would have ever thought back then that we would end up as husband and wife?’ The fetes contributed much-needed funds, along with the chance to form and renew friendships. They also provided the opportunity to share ideas between member groups,
1 Willandra Village Fete, 1979. 2 Craft stall at the fete at Aminya.
showcase the work of the Trust more broadly, and build relationships with Baptist churches. Members of regional boards of management attended the fetes, taking time to inspect the Trust’s homes. The Illawarra Ladies’ Auxiliary introduced larger groups to the Trust’s work through its bus trips, the first of which was to the 1974 fete. For many years the fete was held on the middle Saturday of Baptist Union assembly meetings, allowing both city and country delegates to attend. The fetes brought a wide range of stakeholders together. In addition to members of the Ladies’ Auxiliaries, many staff, their friends and even residents also volunteered. Regional events attracted volunteers from local communities, with people from Baptist churches in the vicinity staffing the stalls.
Novel ideas In addition to standard fete stalls, at times there were novel ideas – in 1961 a copper mile of 12,000 pennies raised £50. In 1978, a group of women met at Wollongong Baptist Church to transform six packets of cocoa, eighteen slabs of cake, twenty-five packets of coconut, and twenty-six kilos of icing sugar into 1750 lamingtons to be sold at the Willandra Fete.
Roy Gilchrist, OAM Roy Gilchrist was a member of the Baptist Homes Trust council from 1979 until 1983. During this period, he devoted much time and effort to the Trust. He served on the Social Welfare Committee as vice chair, the executive committee, and the childcare subcommittee. Roy was the Trust’s representative on the board of the Auburn Baptist Child Care Association, which ran the ABC Preschool. He also served on the Heathdene Preschool management committee and worked with the property committee. When the Baptist Child Care Association was formed to support Christian child care ministries, Roy was appointed to the management committee where he served in several senior roles. Roy devoted considerable time to negotiations with the departments of Social Security and Youth and Community Services, in relation to the Trust’s involvement in children’s homes and early childhood care.
Volunteers worked hard for months preceding each fete. Their activities included sewing, cooking, knitting, crafting, collecting donated items for the white elephant stall and more.
Roy spent his last years as a resident at Aminya Village. Ever committed, in 1993 Roy was unanimously elected president of the Aminya Village residents’ social committee. He served for eight years then stood down, only to be persuaded to resume after a short break. On 25 August 2003, Roy was appointed an Honorary Life Member of Baptist Community Services (BCS), in recognition of his selfless commitment to others and his numerous roles in service to BCS. Roy was awarded an OAM in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours. Roy and Betty Gilchrist, 2008.
(1980–present) On 13 April 1980, governor-general Sir Zelman Cowen officially opened Aminya Centre – a nursing home – and Aminya Village – independent living units for the elderly. Close to 700 people attended the ceremony. The name Aminya, believed to mean ‘quiet and beautiful’, was chosen from a list provided by RE Walker, the Trust’s president. Aminya was built in stages. Initially, a fifty-bed nursing home, thirty-two motel-style hostel rooms and accommodation for two live-in staff were built. Then in 1981 a further thirty-six hostel rooms were completed. To ease the transition for married couples, six of the rooms had interconnecting doors. The independent living units, built in five stages between 1981 and 1987, were built under a resident-funded scheme. A single person or a couple paid the full cost of the unit to the Trust, with 20 per cent being a donation and the remaining 80 per cent an interest-free loan that was repaid to the resident (or their estate) when the unit was vacated. Aminya Village comprises seventy-six two-bedroom and sixteen one-bedroom units. The village’s design includes an outdoor activities area. The final stage of construction was the FJ Church Community Centre, named in recognition of FJ’s contribution to the development and growth of the Baptist Homes Trust and Baptist Community Services over many years. The centre was officially opened on 20 November 1988. For many years, the Trust had considered providing a central cook-chill system of food service for all its metropolitan aged persons’ homes. In 1981, the Aminya kitchen, initially intended to cater for 118 people, was modified to cater for over 520, with the capacity for expansion as new facilities were built. By the end of the year, all existing sites were serviced by Aminya Catering Service. The service continued to operate until BCS Catering Service was opened in 1996, when parts of the Aminya kitchen were repurposed to improve
the nursing home facilities. These alterations included a new servery, a doctor’s consulting room, a multipurpose room, a new linen store, and an activities area and outdoor area for residents living with dementia. The first matron of Aminya, Alma O’Rourke, OAM, understood that ‘villages are not about buildings but people and how they form a community’. She encouraged the residents, brought together in this new location, to take steps to create community. The residents quickly became an active group, starting a choir that sang every Sunday and a group who played pool regularly. They organised day outings and, later, five-day holidays. They helped raise money for a bowling green and to extend the outdoor BBQ area to cater for twilight teas. Alma introduced a coffee shop, a library, a snooker room, a hairdresser, a physiotherapist, talks on areas of interest, concerts, dances, lunches, a craft group and more. All this meant considerable organisation behind the scenes, and some headaches for those responsible for risk management. Together residents and staff negotiated these challenges, allowing Aminya residents to continue their active and engaged lifestyles.
‘Villages are not about buildings but people and how they form a community.’
Alma O’Rourke, OAM Right: Les Draper, CEO of Baptist Community Services at the opening of the FJ Church Community Centre, 1988.
1980 On 13 April 1980, governor-general Sir Zelman Cowen officially opened Aminya Centre â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a nursing home â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and Aminya Village â&#x20AC;&#x201C; independent living units for the elderly. Close to 700 people attended the ceremony.
1 Bowls group preparing for a tournament. 2 Attendees at the opening of the FJ Church Community Centre. 3 Concert time with Janet Pridmore and Anna Atkinson. 4 Aminya's tenth anniversary celebration. 5 Roy Mavay and Alma O’Rourke, OAM cutting the cake at the tenth anniversary celebration.
The residents quickly became an active group, starting a choir that sang every Sunday and a group who played pool regularly. They organised day outings and, later, five-day holidays. They helped raise money for a bowling green and to extend the outdoor BBQ area to cater for twilight teas.
Alma O’Rourke, OAM Following her graduation from nursing in the late 1950s, Alma O’Rourke worked with Baptist Community Services (BCS) in aged care for over forty years. Alma served as a registered nurse at Yallambi from 1959 to 1964, then at Waldock Nursing Home, (formerly the Waldock Nursing Hospital) from 1973 to 1978. Occasionally she stood in for the matron at Niola, in Parkes. She was appointed sister, senior sister and acting director of nursing at Shalom. These experiences shaped her approach when, in January 1980, she assumed full executive care for Aminya. In the months prior to Aminya’s opening, Alma worked with a team of volunteers to prepare the home for residents. ‘I was fortunate to join Aminya right at the beginning’, Alma recounts. ‘I was able to put in place concepts I had seen in other facilities, and new ideas I had learnt from reading about other places and from studying at university.’ In 1981–1982, Alma helped establish Aminya Catering Service to distribute cook-chill meals to BCS’s metropolitan facilities. She remained responsible for this service until BCS Catering Solutions opened in January 1996. Alma says her staff did an amazing job, staying on with the service for years. Alma kept up to date with advancements in her field, attaining the Associate Diploma in Geriatric Nursing from Cumberland College of Health Science. Organisations such as the Westmead Hospital Aged Care Assessment Unit and the Commonwealth Department of Health noticed her skill and professionalism, engaging her as a consultant. Others sought her help to develop policies for aged care facilities. For six months during 1994, she was acting executive director of nursing at Shalom to evaluate the executive director position and upgrade procedures to comply with government regulations. In recognition of her services to aged care nursing, Alma was awarded an OAM in the 1999 Australia Day Honours. On Aminya’s Silver Jubilee in 2005, the home’s residents honoured Alma with a commemorative plaque that read: ‘In honour of Mrs Alma O’Rourke who rendered devoted
services as Matron – Director of Nursing from 12 October 1979 to 4 December 1999 at Aminya. To those who served with her over the years sincere thanks from the Aminya Family’. Following her retirement, Alma continued working for BCS as a volunteer. In 2009, the board appointed her an Honorary Life Member, recognising her genuine concern for the welfare of others and her years of nursing with BCS. Over the past two decades, Alma has observed significant changes in aged care. Facilities are larger and more complex. There is greater diversity in the workforce, and to a lesser extent among residents. But what hasn’t changed is that those who move into aged care facilities still look for a haven of rest. Love, laughter, comfort and care remain key to creating an atmosphere where people feel included and genuinely at home. Alma has seen BCS consistently listen and respond to feedback from residents and families, allowing it to provide fresh expressions of home. Accommodation includes spacious rooms with ensuites, as well as access to cafes, dining-rooms and BBQs for residents and families. Outdoor seating, gardens, birds and other pets offer sensory stimulation and enjoyment. Chapels accommodate differing services. Alma remains concerned for those whose families are scattered across the world, or whose friends have predeceased them. Who is there, she wonders, to bring the pleasures of friendship and the joys of home to lonely, isolated people? She believes that BaptistCare serves an essential role, offering its residents companionship and a chance ‘to know the wonder of God’s love each day’.
Over the past two decades, Alma has observed significant changes in aged care.
Rev. John Cox Commencing on 8 December 1980, Rev. John Cox was Baptist Community Services’ (BCS) first full-time regional counsellor. He practised family counselling in Campbelltown and the wider Macarthur region. John’s work became the firm foundation upon which BCS has built its work with survivors and perpetrators of domestic and family violence. 1
1 Alma O’Rourke, OAM. 2 (L to R) The Hon. Alan Cadman, OAM former federal member for Mitchell; Aminya Village resident Cec Gooch; and Alma O’Rourke, OAM. 3 Elvin Smart and Alma O’Rourke, OAM, 2005.
John split his time between counselling services (three days per week) and community development and training (two days per week). His salary was partly subsidised by the State Department of Youth and Community Services, but in the early days his support staff were volunteers. When Rev. Doug Sotheren resigned in 1985, John became manager of LifeCare Counselling and Family Services, a role he held until 1995. This position gave him further scope to shape and grow the service. When the aged care ministry of the Mary Bladon complex in Bankstown came to an end in 1987, John recognised an opportunity. He and Harvey Milson, chair of the BCS Social Welfare Committee, recommended the Mary Bladon complex be repurposed as a counselling centre. This resulted in extensive refurbishment and alterations to the building, and engineering works to the outdoor areas.
Honouring Alma On Aminya’s Silver Jubilee in 2005, the home’s residents honoured Alma with a commemorative plaque that read: ‘In honour of Mrs Alma O’Rourke who rendered devoted services as Matron – Director of Nursing from 12 October 1979 to 4 December 1999 at Aminya. To those who served with her over the years sincere thanks from the Aminya Family’.
Rev. John Cox and Rev. Don Crawford.
Mary Bladon Nursing Home and Hostel (1982–1987)
The Baptist Homes Trust first took responsibility for Mary Bladon Nursing Home and Hostel in the early 1980s, nearly thirty years after it was founded by Mabel Ann Bladon. Prior to opening the home, Mabel had been the matron of a girls’ home and of a Red Cross centre, and had spent time in West Papua as a medical mission worker. She returned to Sydney in the hope of supporting local vulnerable elderly, founding the home in 1955 and naming it after her mother. Mabel owned and operated the home for fifteen years, until the Mary Bladon Hospital Christian Fellowship Ltd was formed in 1970. The fellowship obtained neighbouring houses, adding hostel accommodation and care to the home’s services and increasing the number of residents to thirty-four. The fellowship retained Mabel’s services until the early 1980s. In late 1972, despite rising expenses and fees fixed at 1969 levels, the NSW Department of Health refused to allow an increase to residents’ fees. Subsequently, in 1980, it advised the fellowship to close the nursing home and sell the license. The home continued operating for another two years, until the NSW Health Commission agreed that the Baptist Homes Trust could take responsibility for the facility until Waldock Nursing Home was able to accommodate the nursing home residents. In September 1982, the fellowship gifted the building, which housed fifteen nursing home
residents, to the Trust. The Trust then leased two neighbouring cottages, providing hostel accommodation for another sixteen aged guests. The Trust continued to operate the nursing home and hostel for just over four years, under the leadership of matron M Muller. In 1987, despite support from the NSW Health Commission, the Commonwealth Government did not approve funding to extend Waldock and the Trust was forced to close its Mary Bladon aged care ministry. The residents were transferred to other BCS facilities. However, the Trust still held the buildings. Rev. John Cox, superintendent of LifeCare, the Trust’s counselling and family services, realised the potential of the buildings and after significant refurbishment, in early 1988 it became the head office for LifeCare.
The NSW Health Commission agreed that the Baptist Homes Trust could take responsibility for the facility until Waldock Nursing Home was able to accommodate the nursing home residents.
Mary Bladon Nursing Home, 1982.
A gift 2
1 Mary Bladon opening as a counselling centre following its days as a nursing home. 2 Mary Bladon Nursing Home, 1982.
In September 1982, the fellowship gifted the building, which housed fifteen nursing home residents, to the Trust. The Trust then leased two neighbouring cottages, providing hostel accommodation for another sixteen aged guests.
Les Draper was appointed chief executive of Baptist Community Services (BCS) on 14 March 1986 and retired exactly eight years later, on 14 March 1994.
In mid-1986, Graeme Mitchell left his private accounting practice to redirect his skills into social welfare, joining Baptist Community Services (BCS) as financial controller. He arrived on the cusp of fifteen years of major change and development.
Les first joined BCS in 1973 as a well-qualified accountant. Ten years later, when chief accountant Lester Levy retired, Les was appointed to replace him. The administrative team welcomed Les enthusiastically – he was already a good friend and team mate. After having carried the roles of acting executive secretary and director of community services, Les was appointed general superintendent on 14 March 1986, in the middle of a council discussion about the appropriate term for his role. The Baptist Union was concerned that it and the Trust used the same title for its key executive role. After some deliberation, Trust councillors resolved to change the name of the Trust’s executive position to chief executive. Les had a reputation for being a quiet achiever. During his term as chief executive, the Home Flexi Care Service (HFC) was established, Northmead Day Care Centre started, four new hostels were built and extensions to several existing nursing homes were undertaken. As demands on his time grew, Les increased the management team – a task which the Trust’s chair, Roger Peffer, observed he ‘carried out in a very quiet but very successful manner’.
Les had a reputation for being a quiet achiever. 90
During his tenure, the annual budget grew from $17 million to around $90 million, and funds invested increased from $4 million to more than $70 million. Staff numbers swelled from about 450 to 2500 and the residential aged care program doubled. Graeme was pivotal in enabling BCS to effectively negotiate this enormous growth. Graeme’s initial responsibilities included the company’s investment portfolio. From 1987, he managed all BCS fixed interest investments on a daily basis. In 1988, his responsibilities expanded and his title changed to business manager. In this role, he was responsible for accounting, finance and the administration of homes and services. As BCS grew, Graeme’s areas of responsibility continued to change and additional staff, including a finance manager, were appointed to support the organisation’s expansion. From 1989, Graeme shouldered responsibility for computer installation and maintenance for BCS. In addition, with his chief executive, he proposed six submissions for government funding to the BCS council, resulting in the establishment of Carey Gardens, Kularoo, Morven Gardens, Warabrook, Dorothy Henderson Lodge and Warena aged care centres. In 1991, the board appointed Graeme as deputy to the chief executive, Les Draper, with five senior managers reporting to him. This was a broad-ranging role with responsibilities across all operational programs, including continuous improvement and coordination of strategic plans. In addition to his internal responsibilities, Graeme represented BCS at conferences and seminars, and on state, Commonwealth and industry steering committees.
A new financial controller In 2001, Graeme was appointed a life member of the Aged Services Association of NSW & ACT in recognition of his service to the aged care industry. Graeme had a reputation for being professional, with a strong sense of responsibility and integrity. He could listen well and identify solutions. His attention to detail proved critical to understanding and applying government legislation, and for the development of procedures and policies for the organisation.
During Graeme’s tenure, BCS’s annual budget grew from $17 million to around $90 million, and funds invested increased from $4 million to more than $70 million. Staff numbers swelled from about 450 to 2500 and the residential aged care program doubled.
As one colleague commented, ‘His commitment to the organisation and to the carrying out of his responsibilities could not be faulted. He gave much more than was expected of him. He set high standards of achievement for himself and expected the same of those working with him’. Graeme resigned from BCS on 17 May 2001 to take up the position of general manager with Baptist Investments and Finance Ltd.
Graeme had a reputation for being professional, with a strong sense of responsibility and integrity. He could listen well and identify solutions.
Home away from home (1986–1992) In June 1986, the Baptist Homes Trust council agreed to extend the Chisholm program to offer underprivileged families the chance of a holiday. This led to the purchase of a unit in North Wollongong. The Campbelltown Baptist Church helped identify mothers and their children from the Campbelltown and Illawarra areas who would benefit from a holiday. Women from Wollongong Baptist Church volunteered to place flowers in the unit as a welcome to incoming families, and to clean it when vacated.
A Christmas tradition In 1995 the men of Sercom began a tradition of packing and distributing Christmas hampers. In that first year, they delivered more than fifty hampers of food and toys to people in the community. In 2003, 437 Christmas hampers were packed, and by 2010, the number of hampers had increased to 830.
While it was hoped that the purchase of this unit would enable many families to enjoy a holiday by the sea, unforeseen consequences meant this service was short-lived. There were complaints about the behaviour of some of the children, and the unit was too small to accommodate the vacationers’ extended families. The unit was sold on 28 June 1989, but another was purchased in East Corrimal later that year. Unfortunately, similar difficulties emerged and the holiday ministry terminated in 1992. 1
1–2 Sercom in the 1970s and 1990s.
Sercom Sercom (a contraction of ‘serving the community’), began in 1974 as the Baptist Homes Trust’s men’s auxiliary. It could be tempting to speculate upon what may have goaded the men into action – they concluded their first official report in 1976 with these words: ‘The men of Sercom salute the Ladies’ Auxiliary and hope to run as long and to perform as well as that excellent band’.
‘The men of Sercom salute the Ladies’ Auxiliary and hope to run as long and to perform as well as that excellent band.’
Their voluntary contributions did indeed continue through the decades. Sercom assisted with manual tasks and fundraising activities for facilities and programs. Within its first two years, Sercom raised money for a child-minding service, bought a set of encyclopaedia for Thorington children’s home, laid turf at Wingara, sold doughnuts at fetes and demolished an unwanted double-decker bus left on the site of Aratoro. Other ways in which Sercom has served include donating furniture and equipment to homes, undertaking minor demolition and construction tasks, making toys for children with special needs and presenting family concerts.
In 1995, the men began a tradition of packing and distributing Christmas hampers. In that first year, they delivered more than fifty hampers of food and toys to people in the community. In 2003, the Sercom men, with a band of additional willing volunteers, packed 437 Christmas hampers. By 2010, the number of hampers had increased to 830. Generous individuals donated toys and food for the hampers, which were distributed around Sydney, the Central Coast, Campbelltown and Wollongong. The last gathering of Sercom was held on 1 August 2011 when Ross Low, chief executive of Baptist Community Services, hosted a morning tea to express appreciation to Sercom for its contributions and service over thirty-seven years.
3 Sercom landscaping at Aminya in August 1979. (L to R) Keith Hampe, Ron Ringer, Fred Rames and Ron Johnson. 4 Sercom Christmas hampers 2010.
1990–1999 This was a decade of thriving and diversifying. In 1992, the Baptist Homes Trust underwent a significant restructure, adopting Baptist Community Services – NSW & ACT (BCS) as its formal name and revising its governance structure entirely. From a council with an executive committee headed by a president, the organisation moved to a board of directors elected by company members, with a chair elected by fellow directors. BCS grew and matured in its vision, rigour, and reputation. Its capacity to respond to emerging trends and needs in aged care increased and it continued to try out innovative approaches. The Trust began to influence the wider sector and to engender a high level of respect as it introduced nursing training and unexpectedly found itself at the forefront of community aged care.
Left: Warabrook Centre.
Barbara Jones, OAM Having left her parents and friends in England when she migrated to Australia, young Barbara Jones joined the Baptist Homes Trust Ladies’ Auxiliary in 1955. It was a way to meet people and help others in her new land and within months she was serving Christmas lunch to residents of Yallambi Elderly Ladies' Home. Four years later, she was deputy president of the Ladies’ Auxiliary central executive and president of the recently formed Ladies’ Auxiliary northern branch. Barbara joined the Trust council in 1962, serving as vice president for its final two years. In 1992, she became Baptist Community Services' (BCS) inaugural deputy chair, a role she filled until retiring in 1999. In 1971, the northern branch of the Ladies’ Auxiliary partnered with the Trust to establish a kiosk in conjunction with extensions to the Willandra Village Community Centre. When the Trust ceased subsidising wages for a part-time kiosk manager in 1983, Barbara took over as a volunteer, restocking shelves each week, serving at the counter and visiting suppliers to secure discounts for residents. Barbara also invested time and expertise into other areas of the Trust’s work. Whenever possible, she attended official openings, graduation services, appreciation dinners and meetings with regional boards. She was a founding member of the Social Welfare Committee in 1971, serving until 1984. Throughout the 1990s Barbara worked tirelessly as a member of the Finance Committee, as chair of the aged care services committee, and as chair of the community ministries advisory committee. Having worked as a quantity surveyor, Barbara put her knowledge of property development and maintenance to good use as chair of the property committee from 1992 to 1994. This role allowed her to travel with property staff to rural facilities, where she provided valuable input for maintenance and other property staff. In 1995, FJ Church invited Barbara to become a founding trustee of the Baptist Community Services Foundation, a position she held until December 1999. During her forty-four years of outstanding service to the Ladies’ Auxiliary and thirty-seven years on the council and
board, Barbara dedicated herself to the welfare of others, displaying an absolute commitment to the provision of high-quality care for residents and clients. In 1999, BCS recognised Barbara’s contributions with Honorary Life Membership, and in 2010, she was awarded an OAM for services to aged welfare.
Having worked as a quantity surveyor, Barbara put her knowledge of property development and maintenance to good use as chair of the property committee from 1992 to 1994.
Roger Peffer, OAM Roger Peffer had already had a long association with the Baptist Homes Trust when it became Baptist Community Services (BCS) in 1992. He had attended openings of Trust homes throughout the 1950s and 1960s and had served in various roles on the Trust council since 1978. It came as no surprise when the new BCS board elected Roger as its inaugural chair. Roger’s first task as chair was to carefully manage the change of leadership and to build confidence in the board’s commitment to BCS’s work. He worked hard to maintain and deepen BCS’s Christian faith base, urging church folk to get involved and accepting as many invitations as possible to attend BCS functions and visit sites. He initiated an annual property inspection bus tour, introducing directors and their partners to BCS’s facilities and their staff, providing invaluable insight for later decision-making. Under Roger’s leadership, corporate governance gradually changed. The CEO increasingly delegated mangement matters to staff, allowing the board to concentrate on aged care and social welfare issues. In the mid-1990s, the BCS board sponsored Roger to undertake an interstate study tour, visiting governmentfunded pilot programs. The board also paid his registration for the 1995 International Housing and Aged Care Conference in Amsterdam. Inspired by what he learned, Roger worked with the board and new CEO, June Heinrich, to embed new principles of ‘ageing in place’ in the design for Morven Gardens and second-stage developments for Warabrook and Kularoo.
In 2001, Roger told the Annual General Meeting that the time had come for him to lay down his office: There is never an easy time to leave, because in any living and growing organisation there are always histories to be written ... objectives to reach, visions to aspire to and hopefully, achieve. Nevertheless, it seems to me to be the right time to leave. In the 2007 Australia Day Honours, Roger received an OAM for services to the aged and the hearing impaired.
Roger worked hard to maintain and deepen BCS’s Christian faith base, urging church folk to get involved and accepting as many invitations as possible to attend BCS functions and visit sites.
Roger and June were also instrumental in formalising a national advocacy and networking association for Baptist community service organisations. They organised a dinner for Baptists attending Aged Care Australia’s eighth national conference, where it was agreed that government funding issues and aged care changes required a united voice. Thus, in 1996, the first Baptist Care Australia conference was hosted in Sydney. Baptist Care Australia is now recognised as an arm of Australian Baptist Ministries.
Don McGregor Don McGregor became a volunteer chaplain for Aminya in 1980, beginning a decades-long fidelity to the Baptist Homes Trustâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mission. For thirty-eight years, he maintained responsibility for the Sunday morning services. Don joined the Trust council in 1984, and was unanimously elected vice president in 1990. When, in 1992, the organisation changed its name to Baptist Community Services (BCS) NSW & ACT, Don continued to serve as a director. The same year, Don joined the community ministries advisory committee, becoming chair two years later. He continued to serve as a director and executive committee member until he resigned on 30 April 1995. In 1994, Don threw his support behind the menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s volunteer movement, Sercom. He was appointed honorary secretary in 2000, a position he held until the end of 2006. On 23 June 2008, Don was elected the Sercom Christmas hamper coordinator. When he was appointed a full-time chaplain in 1999, Don began visiting Chatterton House â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a home managed by The Smith Family. Although this secular group had never had a chaplain, Don was well received by staff and residents. His presence undoubtedly contributed to the smooth transition when BCS accepted responsibility for the facility. Don served as chaplain to various BCS programs including the Baulkham Hills-Parramatta Home Flexi Care Service (HFC), Chatterton House, Dorothy Park and Extended
Don McGregor epitomises the spirit of so many who selflessly volunteer their time, energy and expertise to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Aged Care in the Home (EACH). Eventually, Don centred his duties on Willandra Village, keeping this village and its residents as his focus until he resigned in 2007. In 2006, the BCS board appointed Don an Honorary Life Member in recognition of his meritorious Christian service. His service included the roles of volunteer chaplain at Aminya for more than twenty-five years, councillor/director of BCS for eight years, trustee of the BCS Foundation for almost four years and member of Sercom for thirteen years. In 2000, he was presented the BCS inaugural Volunteer Spirit Award. Don McGregor epitomises the spirit of so many who selflessly volunteer their time, energy and expertise to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Aged care home services During the 1990s, Baptist Community Services (BCS) expanded its programs to deliver aged care services outside of its built facilities. These programs were designed to assist elderly people who preferred to live in the community rather than in residential aged care. From humble and tentative beginnings in home-based hostellevel care, BCS became an industry leader in providing community aged care. Today, BaptistCare remains a significant provider of aged care services into homes across NSW and the ACT. Home Flexi Care Service (HFC): BCS established HFC, a user-pays service, in Marsfield in 1992. Noting this initiative within a broader trend of consumer preference to live in the community, the Australian Government introduced Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs) in 1993. These packages were designed to fund in-home assistance for older Australians already assessed as eligible for hostel-level care, who preferred instead to remain in their own homes. The first funding was allocated to BCS in 1993–1994 for the Marsfield service. Other HFC programs quickly followed as BCS saw needs and took up funding opportunities. Within twelve years, there were HFC programs all over the state. Care was being provided to about 700 clients who required hostel-level care in their homes. As BCS began working in clients’ homes, staff recognised a critical need for other care services. This awareness impelled BCS to explore further offerings. Extended Aged Care in the Home (EACH): Some clients required a much higher level of care than could be provided through the HFC program. So, in 1998 BCS applied to participate in a national pilot program to deliver nursing home-level care in the community. Selected to pilot the program in Marsfield and Canberra, BCS delivered this higher level of care via EACH packages. The success of the pilot program confirmed that there was a need for this type of care, and the government allocated further funding in 2003 for BCS to run the program in Forster and the Riverina.
In-home respite care: BCS also recognised a desperate need for respite for primary carers of the aged and people with disabilities. The organisation secured funding to provide in-home care to allow other carers a reprieve from their responsibilities. By 2003, BCS was offering respite programs in the Hunter Valley, Central Coast, North Shore, South Western Sydney, Auburn and Western Sydney. LifeLinks: By 2003, BCS was receiving funding under the Home and Community Care (HACC) program to provide a wide range of supportive services across NSW. LifeLinks programs included home modification and maintenance, community transport, neighbour aid, personal care, domestic assistance and short-term care. Veterans’ Home Care: In 1997, the Commonwealth Department of Veterans’ Affairs established Veterans’ Home Care to assist veterans to live independently in the community. By 2004, BCS had become one of the largest providers of Veterans’ Home Care, offering services to 660 Department of Veteran Affairs clients across NSW and the ACT.
From humble and tentative beginnings in home-based hostel-level care, BCS became an industry leader in providing community aged care.
Warabrook Centre for Aged Care (1993â&#x20AC;&#x201C;present)
The Warabrook site, consisting of nearly four acres in Newcastle, was purchased in May 1990. The first phase of construction was Warabrook Gardens, a sixty-place low-level care facility opened on 22 August 1993. The second phase was a ninety-bed high- and low-level care facility opened on 28 October 2000. Together these facilities comprise Warabrook Centre for Aged Care. The Warabrook Centre became the first teaching nursing home in Australia when Baptist Community Services (BCS) and the University of Newcastle jointly sponsored a Clinical Chair in Gerontological Nursing Research in 1996. Despite being an educational facility, Warabrook has been carefully designed to ensure residents still feel at home. Warabrook Gardens occupies the northern part of the site. It is divided into three accommodation blocks linked by enclosed walkways. Each block includes its own lounge areas, with communal dining and activity rooms located in a central service hub. DĂŠcor and furnishings are described as tasteful, and it brims with a homely atmosphere. Initially, one block included a special care facility for residents who were cognitively disadvantaged. Those residents moved into a more appropriate facility when the second phase of buildings opened in 2000.
Warabrook, designed to accommodate the requirements of high- and low-level care residents, occupies the southern part of the site. The buildings extend in a curved configuration through the site and are linked by an enclosed overhead walkway. The accommodation consists of six houses, each containing fifteen rooms with a single bed and ensuite, communal lounge/dining room and two other smaller lounges. A separate two-storey staff/communal facility has been linked with the main building by means of a doublestorey, enclosed walkway. The Friends of Warabrook group held their first fete in the grounds of the new home on 29 October 1994. This very successful venture provided funds to purchase outdoor umbrellas for the residents. Annual fetes continued until 1997, when a program of smaller, more frequent fundraising events proved to be more profitable.
Despite being an educational facility, Warabrook has been carefully designed to ensure residents still feel at home.
Right: Entrance to Warabrook Gardens at Warabrook Centre, 1992.
1994 The Friends of Warabrook group held their first fete in the grounds of the new home on 29 October 1994. This very successful venture provided funds to purchase outdoor umbrellas for the residents. Annual fetes continued until 1997.
Training awards Staff Development: In 2000, BCS won a Commonwealth Achievement Award – consisting of a trophy, a plaque and $10,000 – for excellence in staff development in residential aged care, for its integrated training and development program covering all BCS staff. Aged Care Certificate: In 2005, BCS was announced as the winner of the NSW Training Initiative Award, recognising the development of a Certificate IV in Aged Care.
1 Dementia graduation, 2006. 2 Opening of Training and Development Centre – Parramatta, with Gordon Samuels, governor of NSW, 1997. 3 Computer training. 4 Signing ACRES agreement with the University of Newcastle, 1996.
As a former educator, June was intrigued to discover that FJ Church, who had drafted the constitution back in 1944, had included ‘the training of nurses’ in the constitution’s terms.
Education and training When June Heinrich became CEO in 1994, one of her first tasks was to become familiar with the Baptist Community Services (BCS) constitution. She needed to appreciate the purpose and range of activities the company now under her care could legally carry out. As a former educator, June was intrigued to discover that FJ Church, who had drafted the constitution back in 1944, had included ‘the training of nurses’ in the constitution’s terms. During the 1990s, BCS focused its mission on ‘excellence in Christian care’. Grateful for FJ’s far-sightedness, June and her directors of nursing established in-house staff training programs, using qualified staff as educators to improve the knowledge and skills of existing staff. Some of the larger facilities, such as Shalom, even employed a dedicated nurse educator. However, June and her directors of nursing discovered it was impossible to recruit fully-trained new staff – there was no formal training for prospective aged care personnel anywhere in Australia. In January 1991, a training centre in rooms beneath the original Shalom was established. Sandra Linsley, the nurse educator at Morling Lodge, was employed part-time to develop and teach the course. Her work pioneered training in dementia care. Although the course was targeted to meet BCS’s needs, it soon gained attention from allied organisations. The dementia care course became very successful, attracting accolades from across the sector. Within twelve months, training was being provided to thirty other aged care groups. Sandra’s teaching position had to be upgraded to full time, and Marilyn Kime was appointed clinical training coordinator.
certificates and graduate certificates in aged care nursing, aged care management, palliative care, dementia care, and aged care (acute care). This partnership instituted the first teaching nursing home in Australia, the Warabrook Centre for Aged Care. This comprised two BCS facilities situated close to the university: Warabrook Gardens, a sixty-one bed, low-level care facility opened in 1993, and Warabrook, a ninety bed, high- and low-care facility, opened in 2000. June also oversaw the introduction of proper medication management in nursing homes. At the time, any staff member in a hostel could administer medication, but in nursing homes only registered nurses could do so. June negotiated hard with all relevant stakeholders to include medication management for nursing home staff in the Certificate IV course. Unions were highly resistant. Speaking all over Australia on the issue, June knew she had won her case when at one conference, a union representative who had consistently opposed her, rose to her feet to publicly congratulate her on having revolutionised the aged care industry. ‘We won,’ June recalls, ‘and it still stands today’. June’s work within and beyond BCS was publicly recognised by national and state levels of government. In 2000, BCS won a Commonwealth Achievement Award – consisting of a trophy, a plaque and $10,000 – for excellence in staff development in residential aged care, for its integrated training and development program covering all BCS staff. In 2005, BCS was announced as the winner of the NSW Training Initiative Award, recognising the development of a Certificate IV in Aged Care.
In 1996, the NSW Vocational Education and Training Board accredited BCS as a training provider of courses in care support services for nursing assistants and personal care assistants. The same year, BCS and the University of Newcastle partnered to sponsor a new Clinical Chair in Gerontological Nursing Research. Fostering best practice and improved quality of nursing care, this initiative developed and conducted specialised training courses, offering
June Heinrich, AM June Heinrich had been on the Baptist Community Services (BCS) board for just over a year when thenCEO, Les Draper, retired. After fruitless attempts to recruit a new CEO, the other directors asked to see June’s resume. June had held various senior leadership roles, including head of training for NSW prisons. But she had no background in nursing, aged care or community welfare. Besides, she enjoyed her role as director of community development and library information services with the City of Ryde, and had no reason to leave. It was with considerable ambivalence that she agreed to be interviewed. ‘They asked me inane questions,’ she says, ‘like “How would your husband cope?” and “What would you wear as CEO?”’ Cutting them short, she told them she was quite happy with her current job and would only consider an offer if it was unanimous. She requested this be confirmed when the board’s chair, Roger Peffer, called to offer her the role. She never forgot his response: ‘Well, more unanimous on the part of some than others, but yes’. June accepted, and stayed as CEO from 1994 until her retirement in 2010. BCS in the mid-1990s was groaning under the weight of its own success. The old volunteer days were long gone and outdated management processes were undermining the enormous growth. Outdated branding misrepresented the breadth and complexity of the organisation, and alreadyrealised statements of mission and intent were unfit for a promising future. June began by streamlining management processes, allowing the organisation to better respond to internal and external pressures. She and the board pivoted the organisation towards the future, consolidating its Christian identity, refreshing the vision and mission, and rebranding with a new logo. They integrated statements that set out the Christian foundations lying at the heart of their work across all communications and services, and appointed chaplains to every facility. June established fresh policies to value people and their individual differences across all
facilities and services. This instigated such practices as displaying photos and life summaries on residents' doors, assuring those with limited resources that their care was secure, and seeking even better accommodation for those impacted when a facility needed to be renovated or closed. Perturbed by seeing aged people ‘sitting in a chair all day staring at a wall’ or doing activities she considered insulting, June sought out more meaningful programs, like art and music. She believed residents, despite having lost some capacity, ‘were not stupid and needed to be treated accordingly’. June identified in-home aged care as a critical emerging priority within Australia. Her interstate Baptist colleagues and other national industry leaders were sceptical, but she convinced them by appealing to their compassion and their common sense: Ask any older person what they want to do, and the majority will say they want to stay at home for as long as possible. If they feel they already have the relationship, and trust you, they will come to you if they do have to go into residential care. You can smooth their transition and make it that much easier. June’s background in corporate training alerted her to the risks and opportunities inherent in a largely unskilled aged-care nursing workforce. She introduced training, which attained accreditation as a formal qualification, revolutionising the industry. ‘Baptist Community Services NSW and ACT really set the agenda’, June recalls. ‘We were right on the front foot and piloting for the government. We were the bandwagon.’ In 2003, June’s work was recognised with some major accolades. She was awarded an OAM for her work with BCS, she received the Centenary Medal for exceptional services in aged care, and the University of Newcastle conferred upon her the honorary degree of Doctor of Education and appointed her a conjoint professor of its Faculty of Health Sciences.
But June’s greatest reward was seeing students graduating from the very first Certificate III in Aged Care Nursing. When she pinned a big ‘Cert III’ badge on one student’s shoulder, the student beamed, saying, ‘I feel so proud!’ June’s prior involvement with designing primary schools had taught her the value of colour and layout. As BCS built new aged care facilities, June researched colours and planned smaller, home-like dining rooms. She insisted on environmentally friendly designs, in one case requiring an architect to redesign a sub-standard building from scratch. June responded equally creatively to needs within the welfare sector. When sole parent families escaping domestic violence in the early days of the Chisholm program resisted being accommodated together in one house, June bought a block of apartments. Located near Campbelltown, this provided a separate unit for each family, along with on-site space for support workers. In 2005–2006, one of June’s staff members told her she had heard a radio report about Darcy House – a centre in Port Kembla offering women sex workers a place to shower, access food and receive medical help and counselling. A meeting was to be held to discuss transferring responsibility for Darcy House to another organisation. June encouraged the staff member to attend and subsequently lodge an expression of interest. ‘Imagine my surprise’, June laughs, ‘when a couple of weeks later, before I had even told my board, I was advised that BCS would be announced as the successful tenderer!’ Darcy House soon doubled in size, also becoming a refuge for men experiencing homelessness and those living in nearby boarding houses.
‘Ask any older person what they want to do, and the majority will say they want to stay at home for as long as possible. If they feel they already have the relationship, and trust you, they will come to you if they do have to go into residential care. You can smooth their transition and make it that much easier.’
June Heinrich, AM
In 2011, June was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) as part of the Australia Day Honours. June worked hard to sustain the deeply embedded ethos of home across all BCS facilities and services. ‘Even the survivors of domestic violence felt it’, June says. ‘They felt safe. They knew people cared about them, and that we were there to love and help their kids.’
June Heinrich, AM.
In 2003, June’s work was recognised with some major accolades. She was awarded an OAM for her work with BCS, she received the Centenary Medal for exceptional services in aged care, and the University of Newcastle conferred upon her the honorary degree of Doctor of Education and appointed her a conjoint professor of its Faculty of Health Sciences.
Dudley Nursing Home (1995–2000)
Before Baptist Community Services (BCS) took over Dudley Nursing Home on the southern outskirts of Newcastle, it was managed by the Hunter Area Health Services (HAHS). The home cared for forty-eight male residents, most with special needs, and was in desperate need of refurbishment. Unable to undertake the needed upgrade, HAHS handed responsibility for Dudley to BCS, confident in the organisation’s ability to renovate and manage the home. Sydney-based CEO June Heinrich had four days’ notice to coordinate employment of new staff and make all other arrangements. June travelled to Newcastle for the handover on 30 June 1995. She recalls that at exactly midnight, HAHS handed over the keys and records and left the facility. ‘Dudley Nursing Home was the responsibility of BCS’, she says. ‘And what a responsibility it was!’ While Dudley was under BCS management, the NSW Government closed a boarding house in Mayfield, selecting Dudley to house the twenty-eight displaced residents. June and her staff had two working days to prepare a disused
wing to receive the men, locating beds, tables, chairs – everything. June recalls the men arriving on the Tuesday, carrying all their possessions with them in green garbage bags. The men smelt their welcome BBQ, dropped their bags, and raced to the food. ‘They soon adjusted to Dudley … and the staff adjusted to them’, June remembers wryly. Five years later, when the Warabrook Centre was complete, the aged residents at Dudley were transferred there and the boarding house residents moved to group homes in the Newcastle area. BCS handed a fully refurbished, wellorganised and safe Dudley Nursing Home back to HAHS in November 2000.
Unable to undertake the needed upgrade, HAHS handed responsibility for Dudley to BCS.
1 Dudley Nursing Home, 1995. 2 Regional manager north region, Paul Holding with Dudley Nursing Home's director of nursing, Beryl Dollin at Dudley, 1995.
Ross Coleman – a personal reflection ‘Can you tell me more about your work with people coming out of prison?’ I had phoned the head office of Baptist Community Services (BCS) in 1981 to assist my voluntary work with ex-offenders in the inner city. The answer would change my life. By the end of that year, I was employed as a welfare worker at Aratoro, the BCS house for men in transition from imprisonment to civilian life. These were tough men. I witnessed them resist, relapse, prevaricate and self-destruct. However, it wasn’t all discouraging. Some men found work, others transitioned into independent living, still others returned to share their progress. One man visited our young family frequently. We had long discussions around our table, as he shared his story. He listened to us, even when we challenged him to forgive and invited him to engage with a relational God. These men faced enormous challenges upon release. One said, ‘I haven’t crossed a road for years. It's hard to gauge the speed of traffic’. Another admitted he’d almost assaulted a shopkeeper for cheating him – the two-dollar note he expected in his change had been phased out, replaced with a coin he didn’t recognise. Most men experienced their return to society as an emotional, social and psychological rollercoaster. Some saw a return to prison as a safer option. Prison-focused work was well supported by BCS leadership. In partnership with Prison Fellowship NSW, BCS financially supported my new executive director position with Prison Fellowship until Prison Fellowship could carry all employment costs. I was (and still am) deeply moved by this generosity.
Shepherd Microfinance, and funded by NAB and the NSW Government, NILS commenced across various BCS locations with great success. A low interest loan scheme called StepUP also started, providing higher loan amounts. Several years later both NILS and StepUP accounted for more than a million dollars of loans every year to people on low incomes. I am a changed person from the one who called BCS Ross Coleman. back in 1981. Stories from clients who have trusted me with insights into their lives, have profoundly shaped my theology and world view. No matter what the story or the person, listening to all stories has been an honour. BaptistCare’s commitment to support engagement in communities of disadvantage is unique. It remains a privilege to conclude my working life with BaptistCare knowing that we continue to offer hope to people living with disadvantage. And they, in turn, give hope to us.
After time as a pastor in Narellan and in the inner city with HopeStreet, I returned to BaptistCare, then still known as BCS, in 2006. My new role was to manage the vibrant Warilla North Community Centre, south of Wollongong. In 2008 the centre added a no interest loans scheme (NILS). People on government benefits have very few affordable and ethical financial options when needing to make an essential purchase of some size. In close collaboration with Good
Lydia’s of Lidcombe (1996–2004)
The Baptist Community Services (BCS) Ladies’ Auxiliary contributed a lot of their time to establishing opportunity shops. In addition to underwriting the costs of various BCS welfare services, these shops provided affordable merchandise to the local community and served as hubs for the lonely and people in need. The Ladies’ Auxiliary opened their first shop at Stanmore in 1961, followed by several others in the following decades. In 1996, they established a new opportunity shop: Lydia’s of Lidcombe. Lydia’s, like the others, was a place of hospitality and welcome. Knowing the volunteer staff would show them genuine love and concern, customers came to Lydia’s with personal needs greater than their need to purchase anything. Even as Lydia’s was being set up, a woman came in thrilled to discover it was to be run by Baptist ladies. She explained she owed her life to the Baptist ladies in the Auxiliary’s first shop in Stanmore. She had called into the shop so desperate she was considering suicide. That visit had transformed her life. The woman not only stayed to assist with the setup but also returned as a volunteer. Lydia’s became a shop with a difference. Some young mums would come back to show off their babies, resplendent in clothes bought from the shop. Others might relax in the reading corner with a book while her children played with the toys. Customers returned regularly to shop and to seek advice and support. One day, while she rummaged, a regular customer pondered aloud which hat to wear in November. A nearby staff member asked why she needed a hat in November. The customer replied that she would be undergoing cancer treatment that month, and would probably lose her hair. When November came, the staff member watched out for her, asking how her treatment was progressing and how she was coping. Volunteers kept in touch with her and others like her, visiting them in hospital, especially if it was identified they had minimal or no support.
On another occasion, a young man wanted a suit as he was due in court that day. Those serving offered a selection of suits, ties and shirts. The man kept coming out from the change room with different combinations until the volunteers were satisfied. He left with a confident air, looking like he’d spent a million dollars. In fact, the suit, shirt and tie had cost him a total of $13.50. Flexible and responsive to community needs, Lydia’s was a bridal emporium, a furniture store and everything in between. On a slow day, around sixty people might visit; on a busy day, more than a hundred customers might pass through. On average, about 17,000 customers visited Lydia’s annually. Most lived locally, but requests for assistance also came from beyond the immediate community. By the end of the 1990s, Lydia’s volunteers had raised $43,000 to support BCS community welfare endeavours. The shop had grown beyond the Ladies’ Auxiliary’s capacity to manage it, and Lydia’s management transferred to BCS at the beginning of 2000. Each day during the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, athletes and visitors from all around the world visited the shop. Being close to the athletes’ village at Homebush, Lydia’s offered a place to share stories, learn about Sydney and have a chat. Even the president of the Sports Council of Namibia came by, purchasing ten bags of clothes for the children in his home village. BCS finally closed Lydia’s in 2004, but its opportunity shop program continued for another decade.
Lydia’s visitors On a slow day, around sixty people might visit; on a busy day, more than a hundred customers might pass through. On average, about 17,000 customers visited Lydia’s annually.
Betty Checkley, OAM at Lydia’s of Lidcombe.
Even as Lydia’s was being set up, a woman came in thrilled to discover it was to be run by Baptist ladies. She explained she owed her life to the Baptist ladies in the Auxiliary’s first shop in Stanmore. 109
2000–2009 The 2000s was a decade for Baptist Community Services (BCS) to further review its operations in light of the breadth and depth of services it now offered. It was a time of further expansion into aged care and community welfare with fresh and innovative opportunities. In-home aged care flourished, several facilities were updated and social welfare services continued to grow.
Left: Chaplain Chris Burdett visiting a client at home.
Pathways adolescent unit (1991–2013)
Baptist Community Services’ (BCS) original Pathways program began on a fifty-acre property in Somersby, NSW in 1991. The original staff consisted of a full-time coordinator, a therapist for twenty hours per week and three youth workers. The first resident, a thirteenyear-old boy, entered the home in April 1991. The following year the service relocated to Wyong, and for a few years provided case management for non-residential families on behalf of the Department of Community Services. During 1999, Pathways ceased working with non-residential families to focus on residential care. In June 2000, Pathways became a five-day residential program working with young people aged twelve to sixteen who were unable to reside at home. Pathways Wyong was a practical application of the BCS mission statement at the time: ‘To express Christ’s love as we serve individuals, families and people in the community who have unmet spiritual and emotional needs’. Its goal was to restore young people to their homes and reconcile their relationships with families. It offered accommodation, case management and therapeutic support including a living skills and behaviour modification program, for a period of three months to two years. The program employed the combined advantages of a semi-rural setting and a structured lifestyle. It provided a safe but challenging environment where every activity associated with daily living became an opportunity to practice new ways of coping, behaving and relating. Each young person actively participated in their own case plan, and the house manager designed a specialised program to stabilise behaviour, facilitate emotional and physical development, and build competence and self-esteem. Residents attended school or a regular day program (educational or vocational), as the facility did not have residential care staff on duty between 10 am and 2:30 pm. The house manager liaised closely with education providers to ensure each young person received the necessary support. Residents also had the opportunity to pursue
recreational and social opportunities, with two nights per week set aside for these activities. The house manager met regularly with the entire family of each Pathways resident. The aim was to encourage all members to take an active part in the case plan of their young relative. Residents went home for weekends and during the day over the holidays where appropriate, and maintained regular contact during the week with their families. The Pathways counsellor also met fortnightly with families to encourage all members to examine their current patterns of interaction and discuss alternative ways of relating. This added another layer of support to family members and specifically helped all family members develop strategies for coping with difficult situations within the home. Within two years of the admission date, or when the resident turned sixteen, the house manager worked with the young person to develop an exit plan. This might involve moving back home, staying with other relatives, or moving into semi-independent accommodation. A Pathways social worker always followed up the young people after they left, to support them as they made the transition and settled into their new environment.
Each young person actively participated in their own case plan, and the house manager designed a specialised program to stabilise behaviour, facilitate emotional and physical development, and build competence and self-esteem.
Hope for young people In June 2000 Pathways became a five-day residential program working with young people aged twelve to sixteen who were unable to reside at home.
Pathways Wyong, 1991.
Jim Mallice, OAM Jim Mallice first became aware of the Baptist Homes Trust through his work with Heathdene Preschool and Sercom men. When he resigned from the army in 1981, Jim joined the Trust for six weeks of voluntary service while he searched for other work. During this period, he applied for and secured the full-time salaried role of property officer with the Trust. Jim’s first major project in the role was to develop and implement a central cook-chill catering system at Aminya. Jim was responsible for alterations to accommodate additional equipment for cooking, quick chill refrigeration and re-thermalisation.
Regarding himself ‘apprehended by God’ to do what he could, Jim volunteered around 1200 hours of his time each year as the honorary BCS historian.
When the Trust became Baptist Community Services (BCS), Jim’s responsibilities broadened. He covered everything from advising on furnishings, to monitoring construction programs, to buying and selling property. From January 1983 until December 1984, he also administered the Carlingford complex.
In 2012, Jim was awarded an OAM for his services to the community.
For two years Jim participated in the Joint Aged Care Industry Building Committee convened by the Aged Services Association of NSW & ACT (ASA). He found working alongside leading architects and executives from other aged care organisations ‘an awesome experience’. Jim also joined an informal committee of other aged care providers, where a strong, generous and mutually beneficial rapport developed between group members. Jim retired as assets and project manager in July 1998 but continued in a part-time capacity at Warabrook Centre for Aged Care and contributed hundreds of volunteer hours gathering the Trust’s historical information. The practice of keeping records of stories and anecdotes had lapsed for some time but, moved by the unswerving dedication of so many volunteers and staff, Jim determined to capture what he could. He had learned to value good record keeping when compiling grant applications and briefs for dignitaries, and when preparing celebrations for long-serving staff and volunteers. Thus in 1998, when Roger Peffer, chair of the BCS board at the time, suggested Jim start formally documenting historical data, he took up the challenge.
In 2004, at its sixtieth anniversary celebrations, BCS launched Striving for Excellence – an overview of the organisation’s history that Jim co-authored with Rev. Gerald Ball. At the same event, Jim was awarded Honorary Life Membership in recognition for his long service. Jim’s first CEO at BCS, Ron Robertson, said, ‘Jim was a faithful worker, absolutely dependable and loyal, very pleasant and most supportive. He was an outstanding colleague’.
When he resigned from the army in 1981, Jim joined the Trust for six weeks of voluntary service while he searched for other work.
Jim Mallice, OAM and Ted Wardrop from Sercom at the Heathdene Fete, 1978.
John Frederick Church In the early 1950s, nine-year-old John Frederick Church and his friend Graham Henderson made a dramatic entry into the history of Baptist Community Services (BCS). Each Sunday afternoon, the boys’ parents would visit the new building site for Yallambi, the first home owned by the Baptist Homes Trust (later BCS). On this day, for reasons they would come to regret, they had brought their boys to see the newly-dug foundation trenches. To say John and Graham were underwhelmed at the prospect of visiting a building site in their Sunday best was an understatement of the first degree. When they arrived, however, the state of the site immediately aroused their interest. It had been raining steadily for several days, and everything was awash. The mud presented some interesting and inviting possibilities for the two boys, whose imaginations at the time were focused on war games. Laid out before them were acres of mud, an overflowing watercourse and a myriad of trenches – perfect for re-enacting the Battle of the Somme. While their parents were distracted, John and Graham slipped into the trenches. When one of their mud grenades finally scored a direct hit, it was on! By the time their parents approached across no-man’s-land, the boys were covered in mud from head to toe. Their faces were unrecognisable. Their clothes were beyond salvage. Their shoes were muddy and sodden. Suddenly, they both lost the war. But it had been worth it!
also served as chair of the Remuneration (later Remuneration and Performance) Committee and as a director of the BCS Foundation. John advocated strongly for chaplains to be appointed across BCS facilities and services. Although this took many years to establish, he believes it is one of his greatest contributions. John’s passion is to bring hope and transformation to the socially disadvantaged, to people who are homeless, to single parents and to those experiencing domestic violence. That BCS has recently taken on and expanded HopeStreet as fresh expression of its mandate to invest in these areas of need, brings him great encouragement and joy.
As a solicitor, John brought a keen legal mind and financial acumen to his governance and committee work.
John Church lived his whole life surrounded by BCS’s vision and work. As a child, both his parents were closely involved with the Baptist Homes Trust, and as an adult John served on the council/board for more than thirtyfour years, as a director (1983–2019) and as chair (2001– 2008). During John’s term as chair, BCS celebrated two significant milestones: its sixtieth anniversary in 2004, marked by the publication of Striving for Excellence, a short history of BCS; and the fiftieth anniversary of Yallambi. As a solicitor, John brought a keen legal mind and financial acumen to his governance and committee work. He contributed to BCS’s Audit and Finance committees as a member and chair, and held the role of honorary treasurer for a time. John
John Church lived his whole life surrounded by BCS’s vision and work. As a child, both his parents were closely involved with the Baptist Homes Trust (later BCS), and as an adult John served on the council/board for more than thirty-four years, as a director (1983–2019) and as chair (2001–2008). John Frederick Church.
Suzie Palmer In 1994, as a twenty-three-year-old working overseas, Suzie Palmer noticed she was beginning to have a few problems with balance. On her return to NSW, it came as a huge shock for Suzie to be diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS), a chronic disease of the central nervous system. Facing limited mobility, sensitivities to heat and cold and many other challenges, Suzie turned to BCS for help. Local care staff introduced a tailored health and wellbeing focus to her in-home care program. Suzie was initially fearful about the risks involved with exercise and physiotherapy. But by the mid-2000s she was convinced of their benefits. As she wrote for BCS’s 2007 annual report, ‘Now I am into it, I love it and the difference it makes’. Reflecting on her condition and her experience of BCS community care, Suzie says:
Living without great physical mobility hasn’t confined my mind. I’m more creative and compassionate, and I am pursuing things I never thought I would do – like writing an autobiography, children’s books and poetry, and doing motivational talks. The support to become stronger has made me emotionally and mentally sharper for my creative pursuits. It’s actually helped me become freer than I could have ever imagined. 2
‘The support to become stronger has made me emotionally and mentally sharper for my creative pursuits. It’s actually helped me become freer than I could have ever imagined.’
Suzie Palmer 116
2018 In 2018, BaptistCare had a team of fifty-five chaplains working across all services. They bridge gaps daily as they offer pastoral and spiritual care for vulnerable people.
1 Chaplain Graham Checkley visits with a resident at Dorothy Henderson Lodge. 2 Chaplain Graham Checkley at Dorothy Henderson Lodge.
Chaplaincy The provision of spiritual and pastoral care has always been an important part of the BaptistCare program. In the words of senior chaplain Rev. Ian Duncan, pastoral care 'is an essential part of the caring ministry of Baptist Community Services (BCS) and a vital service to residents, family, relatives, staff and the wider community'.
Such a reminder of God’s great love could bring Barbara to tears.
At the turn of the millennium, BCS’s team of twenty chaplains found the changing nature of aged care creating unexpected challenges and new opportunities. They were used to residents living in a BCS home for an extended period, allowing them to build relationships with them and their families over time. However, in-home care through the Home Flexi Care Service (HFC) and Extended Aged Care in the Home (EACH) meant that new residents were often frailer, with less capacity to communicate than had historically been the case. Their time with residents and families became characterised by short-term crisis response. While this limited the opportunity to build those long-term relationships, the chaplains discovered these moments offered critical opportunities to express the love of Christ in word and deed.
Chaplaincy is offered beyond BaptistCare facilities. Chaplains also work in hospitals, in community housing programs at Goulburn, Five Dock and Lismore, and with the inmates and warders of juvenile justice detention centres at Cobham and Kariong.
Visiting those who chose to remain at home became a regular task for the BCS chaplains. One client, Barbara, lived by herself in a rented flat, with little income. Whenever the chaplain visited, Barbara found a listening ear for her sadness about her family. She believed that in selling the family home and business while she was in hospital, her children had robbed her of her financial security, leaving her with nothing. The chaplain emphasised how deeply Barbara was loved by God; how very precious she was to Him. She replied, ‘I hope so, because I don’t know what I have done to make my children turn out the way they have’. Before leaving, the chaplain would read a passage of Scripture, such as John 3:16:
Barbara was not an isolated case. Chaplains are often bridges to comfort and reassurance for many people who feel unloved and unvalued and who are hungry to know about God’s great love for them.
In 2018, BaptistCare has a team of fifty-five chaplains working across all services. They bridge gaps daily as they offer pastoral and spiritual care for vulnerable people.
Chaplains also work in hospitals, in community housing programs at Goulburn, Five Dock and Lismore, and with the inmates and warders of juvenile justice detention centres at Cobham and Kariong.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Connect Grants In 2002, Baptist Community Services (BCS) established community seeding grants, called Connect Grants, to help Baptist churches start up local community programs. Within the year, ten churches had applied, six of which received funding. These were: • Ariah Park: family education program • Casino: playtime support group for mothers • Padstow Community: ‘Hands Free’ pastoral ministry • Toronto: ‘How to drug proof your kids’ program • Windsor: emergency accommodation ministry • Ermington: early intervention high school support service In 2004, the board increased the seed funding available from $20,000 to $60,000. During the four years from 2002 to 2006, grants totalling $160,000 were distributed through this fund to a wide range of caring initiatives. These included emergency relief services, men’s and women’s support groups, ministries in the areas of music, sport, peer support, and transport, and a variety of other practical services.
In November 2013, eight churches received grants to assist in the development of community-focused projects. These were: • Ashmont (in partnership with Wagga Wagga): The Coffee Drop – connecting people for social and emotional support • Community Life Church Cherrybrook: single parent workshops • Gymea: Seasons for Growth – adult grief and loss support • Kariong Community: pamper packages for women arriving at a local women’s refuge • Medowie Community: ‘Medowie Clubhouse’ for supporting youth • Riverstone: The Bridge Café – linking to the local school community • The Entrance: parenting courses • Yass Community: the mobile Op Shop Bus By 2015, when the grants ceased, more than $420,000 had been allocated to ninety-nine churches to trial and establish innovative local community-support programs across the state.
Ninety-nine ideas By 2015, when the grants ceased, more than $420,000 had been allocated to ninety-nine churches to trial and establish innovative local community support programs across the state.
1 Connect Grant recipient – Ashfield Baptist Child Care. 2 Connect Grant recipient Ashmont – Wagga Wagga, The Coffee Drop.
Joan Chambers Joan Chambers was a busy wife and mother, actively involved with sport, choirs, church and school until illness forced her into early retirement. Joan’s pastor recognised her ability to relate with people from all walks of life. In 2003, he asked her to join his pastoral care team, visiting older church members, including those in the Baptist Community Services (BCS) aged care facility, Warabrook Gardens. Reluctant at first, Joan soon discovered the great privilege of witnessing the joy her visits brought. She knew her visits mattered when someone scolded her for being late. Her ‘oldies’ became precious friends; she grieved when they died. When, during 2007, both her parents moved into Warabrook Gardens, her visits became personal as well as pastoral. Joan also assisted the activity officer and served in the residents’ shop at Warabrook. Once, when a lady emptied the coins from her purse onto the counter, an old key fell out. She put it back with her change after purchasing a packet of the Arnott’s biscuits Joan knew she liked with her cup of tea. Later, when the maintenance man mentioned to Joan that he couldn’t find the key to unlock a very old cupboard in a resident’s room, Joan made the connection. When the maintenance man opened the cupboard, it was full of Arnott’s biscuits!
Joan has helped residents in the garden, learnt and taught new craft skills, supervised games, called bingo, folded napkins, run quizzes, accompanied bus trips, solved problems and provided afternoon tea on fine china. On Fridays, she reads short stories. ‘I have never read so much in my life, trying to find inspiring short stories suitable for reading aloud’, she laughs. A nursing home, she’s realised, is a melting pot of society, with people from all walks of life. They range ‘from beautiful, to confused, to nasty’. Knowing that some days are trying, she respects staff for their patience and kindness. It is important, she understands, to listen and remain available; people are often lonely and need conversation. People from all walks of life invite her to pray with them and ask her about God and being in a relationship with him.
A nursing home, she’s realised, is a melting pot of society, with people from all walks of life.
The chaplain asked Joan to become more formally involved with the Warabrook Gardens volunteer pastoral care. This deepened her engagement with residents as she led morning devotions – a time of prayer and reflection on the Bible. Joan found great satisfaction in sharing God’s word with residents, and was encouraged to see more and more residents attend. When one woman complained about ‘just sitting round’, Joan encouraged residents out of their chairs and into a production of the story of the Good Samaritan as an end-of-year event. Its success was marked by the presentation of a Gold Oscar – a cut-out laminated picture of Oscar the Grouch.
Debbie French Located in Port Kembla, Darcy House offers a safe space for people at risk to access home-cooked meals, shower and laundry facilities, and a clothing bank. Baptist Community Services (BCS) took responsibility for the operation of Darcy House in January 2006, following a successful tender process. The following year, Debbie French became one of Darcy House’s two managers. Debbie was supported by social workers and chaplains who provided pastoral care. Through their engagement, chaplains observed that, ‘Darcy House is a safe, secure and caring place and we’re privileged to play our part in the local community. More and more people are being referred to us from across the Illawarra because there is a sense that we can make a real difference, one person at a time’. Debbie no longer works at Darcy House, but she is still passionate about working with people who are homeless and marginalised. She observes that: People who come in [to Darcy House] are really looking for a place of acceptance, community and belonging. They want basic things like a shower, a meal, someone to talk to. Our staff and volunteers work with people to sort out their housing, drug and alcohol and mental health issues and stand alongside them as they move forward. To further empower those who visit the centre, during her time as manager Debbie created a workshop space for teaching art and computer skills. Debbie was encouraged by feedback from one Darcy House guest, who suggested it was indeed making a difference, offering a taste of home: ‘Darcy House is like coming across a waterhole in a desert in the middle of nowhere: a cool drink, a warm smile, someone to talk to who is not judgemental. A problem shared is a problem halved’. Debbie and her colleagues were committed to helping people move toward their full potential, supporting them when they made changes in their lives. She saw it as her personal challenge and privilege to provide care,
compassion and respect for people like Stephen, who shared his story in the 2009 annual report: ‘I’ve spent time in prison and have struggled with drink and depression. When things got really bad, I thought about killing myself. If it wasn’t for the staff here who reached out to me, I don’t think I would still be alive’. ‘Changes don’t happen overnight’, Debbie acknowledges. ‘It takes time to build relationships and gain people’s trust.’ To give that time, to see people begin to take small steps to turn their lives around, is Debbie’s greatest honour.
‘Darcy House is like coming across a waterhole in a desert in the middle of nowhere: a cool drink, a warm smile, someone to talk to who is not judgemental. A problem shared is a problem halved.’
Darcy House guest
Food support When Mark Hallett returned to Newcastle after years of outreach work across the world, he saw plenty of struggle in his community. There was growing evidence of homelessness, more people were approaching his church for basic needs, and there were more headlines about local families going hungry. So he decided to do something about it. Mark opened Food 4 Life in 2007. Under its business model, clients registered and were invited to make a donation for the food they received. Food was supplied by Food Bank NSW, a non-denominational charitable organisation that sources and distributes donated and surplus food from the food and grocery industry. People came from everywhere. Within sixteen months, Mark had opened four more shops in Beresfield, Windale, Raymond Terrace and Wallsend. The organisation grew bigger and faster than he could ever have anticipated. Realising it needed more resources behind it, he negotiated with Baptist Community Services (BCS) to take on the service from March 2009. Mark remained as manager. By then, 3000 families and individuals had registered, with the numbers growing weekly. Mark found that, ‘Behind every client is a unique story and they all have their own needs’. He and his team continued to focus on making personal connections with clients. ‘The shop is really a
Mark Hallett, founder of Food 4 Life with June Heinrich and Food 4 Life staff member.
connection point and we are helping people with other physical and emotional needs. Ultimately we are pointing people to the hope that Jesus brings to life.’ In 2010, BCS opened another Food 4 Life shop in Jannali, in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire. More than 200 families registered within the year. Two thirds of the shop’s clients were widowed, divorced or single parents. Although it only operated two days per week, local clients were incredibly grateful for ongoing access to affordable, nutritious food. In 2014, Food 4 Life was rebadged as one of BCS’s HopeStreet services, which is how it was named when Tara, a regular client, discovered it. Tara is a self-declared saver who hates waste. She always tried to save money to feed her three children, aged from one to fourteen, and was delighted to find somewhere she could buy groceries and still have money left over for weekly bills. Tara would like to see an increase in the number of young people who access HopeStreet to source affordable food. ‘It’s too late when you have dug yourself into a hole’, she says. ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Go in there and don’t feel like a less-fortunate person because of finances. It’s not a desperate thing to do. It’s smart.’
‘The shop is really a connection point and we are helping people with other physical and emotional needs. Ultimately we are pointing people to the hope that Jesus brings to life.’
Mark Hallett 121
Microfinance loans Many disadvantaged Australians lack access to fair and affordable credit. Simple purchases, like replacing a refrigerator, buying a computer or repairing a car can lead to substantial hardship. To address this, in the mid-2000s Baptist Community Services (BCS) teamed up with National Australia Bank (NAB), Good Shepherd Microfinance, government departments and other partner agencies to develop a microfinance scheme. They offered low-interest loans under the StepUP program, and launched a no interest loan scheme (NILS) in 2008. Loans can be used for purchasing significant household items such as bedding, furniture, white goods and computer equipment, or for things such as medical and dental costs, green slips and car repairs. This service has been a life-saver for people like Lee. In 2017, following a divorce, she found herself the victim of domestic violence in a new relationship. She walked away with only the clothes on her back and a few personal items tucked in a suitcase. Now Lee is finding her feet again and, thanks to BaptistCare’s NILS, she is the proud owner of a new, reliable fridge. I don’t know what I would have done without the NILS loan. You need a fridge; you can’t survive without a fridge. Just knowing this resource is here changes everything. I paid back $10 a week. I’m going to get a laptop now to help with my study. Some days are hard... but what’s important to me is having a roof over my head. I have my own place. It feels like home. I have a fridge. I’m getting there.
These days, along with the microfinance loans schemes, BaptistCare offers support with budgeting skills and financial literacy, empowering clients to make informed financial decisions. Since commencing these schemes, BaptistCare has granted $11.5 million in loans, helping 7000 people move closer to financial independence.
‘Just knowing this resource is here changes everything. I paid back $10 a week. I’m going to get a laptop now to help with my study. Some days are hard... but what’s important to me is having a roof over my head. I have my own place. It feels like home. I have a fridge. I’m getting there.’
A BCS community centre offering no and low interest loans and food support.
Since commencing these schemes, BaptistCare has granted $11.5 million in loans, helping 7000 people move closer to financial independence.
2010–2019 This decade has seen the organisation expand its influence in the sectors it operates in. After refreshing its foundation statement, Baptist Community Services (BCS) reviewed its public profile. It found that while churches and the sector recognised the brand, the wider community didn't necessarily do so. The organisation decided to adopt BaptistCare as its new name and brand. This was, of course, its third name. The Baptist Homes Trust focused on built facilities; Baptist Community Services (BCS) pointed to services; the new name, BaptistCare affirmed the organisation’s enduring roots while highlighting the life-transforming, customer-centred care lying at its heart. The name was chosen to align with Baptist Care Australia, the national coalition of Baptist sector colleagues.
Left: Residents and staff at The Gracewood Village enjoying exercise, 2017.
1995 Graham joined the board in 1995, shortly after the Trust rebadged as Baptist Community Services (BCS), and served for twenty-one years.
Graham Henderson It was the mid-1950s, and young Graham Henderson, Ross Low and John Church were totally bored. There wasn’t much to keep them occupied while their parents helped with the fete in the grounds of Yallambi Elderly Ladies' Home. The boys came up with a plan to sneak inside for a wheelchair derby up Yallambi’s newly-built main hall. So, that’s what they did. The only problem was, the bemused and petrified elderly residents were still in the wheelchairs at the time. Their shrieks brought matron Margery Bartlett and others running. Graham, Ross and John were genuinely surprised at all the fuss. Like his co-conspirators, Graham attended every Baptist Homes Trust function and event. His family were powerful role models in their service and care for others. This had a strong influence on Graham’s approach as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, and led him back to the Trust as an adult. Graham joined the board in 1995, shortly after the Trust rebadged as Baptist Community Services (BCS), and served for twenty-one years. He witnessed enormous changes during his time as board member and chair, as BCS staff worked to embed the cultural and decisionmaking changes necessary to meet the burgeoning needs of the ever-expanding organisation. In addition to roles on the board as deputy chair and chair, Graham also served on subcommittees, including the governance and nominations committee and the Remuneration and Performance Committee. In 2016 he was closely involved in reviewing BCS’s successful tender to the NSW Government for the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF).
pastoral care volunteer program to train lay people in churches, and takes great delight in seeing its progress. Although he is very proud of BaptistCare’s built facilities, it is the people who inspire Graham. He is inspired by staff who struggle against enormous odds and still reach out with the love of God to those in need. He is inspired by survivors of domestic violence who demonstrate extraordinary resilience, saying, ‘They are like those dolls with a weight in the base; they are knocked over and they sit right back up again’. He is inspired when expressions of love move others to tears. He recalls an Aboriginal lady weeping as she experienced what the Food 4 Life centre offered when it opened in Broken Hill. ‘I didn’t know white people could be so kind and genuine’, she said. That, says Graham, struck a significant chord – it was exactly why he had returned to give his life to this work. From wild wheelchair races to a passion for care, Graham has had a huge impact on the organisation that has been part of his life for so long.
From wild wheelchair races to a passion for care, Graham has had a huge impact on the organisation that has been part of his life for so long.
As chair, Graham joined June Heinrich in developing a partnership with the University of Newcastle to sponsor a Clinical Chair in Gerontological Nursing Research. Like others before him, he worked to ensure chaplains served throughout the organisation, across all facilities and services. He supported the development of a structured
A legacy 1971â&#x20AC;&#x201C;1976 Member of the Social Welfare, Chisholm and Aratoro committees 2001 Director of BCS board and a member of the Audit and Finance, and Remuneration and Performance committees 2004 Business strategist 2006 Chief financial officer 2009 General manager, corporate support 2010 CEO
Ross Low Ross Low has been CEO since September 2010. His first contribution to BaptistCare was many years earlier when, as a young boy in the 1950s, he sold bunches of lavender at the annual Yallambi Fete. Ross continued attending fetes into the 1970s. In 1971, Ross joined the Baptist Homes Trust’s newly formed Social Welfare Committee as the inaugural honorary treasurer. Committed to the Trust’s expanding social welfare agenda, Ross also joined the Chisholm and Aratoro committees. When he moved overseas for work in 1976, his responsibilities had grown so much they were allocated to a paid staff member. Twenty-five years later, Ross reconnected with what was then Baptist Community Services (BCS), becoming a director in 2001. Within months he was honorary treasurer again, with responsibilities on the Audit and Finance, and the Remuneration and Performance committees. In 2004 Ross was employed as business strategist, then chief financial officer in 2006. In 2009, Ross moved into the role of general manager, corporate support and became a member of the strategic leadership team. The following year he was appointed CEO. Ross’s priority has always been to strengthen BCS’s purpose of transforming lives by expressing the love of Christ. During 2010 and 2011 he focused on building chaplaincy services and partnerships with Baptist churches. The next few years brought unprecedented growth and a refocusing on core operations. Ross continued to concentrate on the board’s five core strategic priorities: an ageing population; growing communities of disadvantage; the ageing workforce and changing trends in employment and volunteering; technology and environment; and partnerships with government, churches and other nongovernment organisations. In 2014, these changes culminated in BCS rebranding as BaptistCare – a name chosen to draw clients’ attention to the organisation’s Baptist heritage and provision of care. In addition to developing marketing for the new brand, Ross restructured management from being geographically focused to having a
business stream orientation. But Ross’ greatest legacy as CEO has been embedding a new culture throughout the whole organisation – one focused on delivering lifetransforming care within a conscious framework of humility. In addition to a change of name and structure, in 2014 BaptistCare took over the management of HopeStreet from the Association of Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT, and was successful in its Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) tender to build 500 units for older and socially disadvantaged people. The number of chaplains increased to cover all service areas, clinical care in the organisation’s service areas moved to a person-centred model, and the board approved a new investment strategy, which significantly improved funding opportunities for community services. Despite the many changes, staff continue to treat residents and clients as family members. Cultivating an atmosphere of home, they strive to serve with humility, considering the statement, ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’. Facing forward, Ross and the organisation continue to look to God for steadfast faith and the unwavering reassurance that the path He places BaptistCare on glorifies Him, and that the care it delivers to its customers is truly an expression of Christ’s love.
Ross’ greatest legacy as CEO has been embedding a new culture throughout the whole organisation – one focused on delivering life transforming care within a conscious framework of humility.
Clinton Place (1998–present)
Through its ongoing work with people living with disadvantage, BaptistCare identified a significant community need for affordable accommodation. In response to this, BaptistCare developed a strategy to increase the supply of affordable community housing. In 2011, an additional thirty-three units were opened on the existing site of Clinton Villas in Goulburn, which was acquired from The Smith Family in 1998. The units, now known as Clinton Place, are close to shops, parks and the local theatre. Consisting of three studio units as well as one- and twobedroom units, the village is home to an active and lively community. A variety of events, including games nights, craft days and guest lectures, are held in the community room. The beautifully landscaped gardens include a community vegetable garden and BBQ area. Clinton Place has been a life-saver, literally, for Colin. Finding himself in a homeless shelter following an abusive relationship with a woman he met online, Colin was so low he began seeing railway bridges and cliffs as escape routes. Someone working at the shelter suggested he consider BaptistCare’s Clinton Place. After spending eight months in a studio unit, Colin was able to move into a one-bedroom unit. This unit provided Colin with a much-needed sense of security. ‘It was a big relief when I got here’, he says. Residents and community housing manager Jenny King (centre) at Clinton Place, 2014.
In addition to a home, Colin had access to all the support services that BaptistCare offers to those who access their community housing. BaptistCare chaplains were there to take the time to listen and offer hope and encouragement. There were home services if he wanted them, for help with daily tasks and social support. And, best of all, Colin discovered BaptistCare’s no interest loans scheme. ‘I’ve built my life again’, he says. ‘I’ve bought a car with the help of the BaptistCare no interest loan scheme. Now I want to live ’til I’m a hundred!’
‘I’ve built my life again. I’ve bought a car with the help of the BaptistCare no interest loan scheme. Now I want to live ’til I’m a hundred!’
HopeEnterprises BaptistCare’s HopeEnterprises provides cleaning services and garden, lawn and general building maintenance. The profits raised fully fund BaptistCare’s comprehensive Employment Training Program (ETP), and contribute to services for women’s health and wellbeing that focus on dealing with domestic violence. HopeEnterprises’ ETP was launched in 2015. It seeks to break the cycle of social and financial disadvantage for people with complex needs who have difficulty entering the workforce. Such people may have experienced long-term unemployment, homelessness, domestic violence, addiction, time in jail, or mental illness. The ETP helps them build skills, increase confidence and find pathways to employment. HopeEnterprises offer traineeships in cleaning services, gardening and lawn services (horticulture), maintenance and repairs, hospitality, accommodation services and aged care. Traineeships run for twelve months at a minimum of three days per week and offer part-time employment at a BaptistCare facility. With ongoing support from a caseworker, on completion of the course trainees receive a nationally recognised Certificate II and a BaptistCare Certificate of Attainment in LifeSkills. Beyond the qualification, the trainees also gain experience in resume writing, job searching and interview skills. HopeEnterprises gardening traineeship in action at BaptistCare's The Gracewood Village, 2016.
In 2017, Zac was encouraged by his father to attend a HopeEnterprises information session. ‘I had to give it a chance’, he says. When Zac entered the room, he sat quietly at the back of the group. Those running the course noticed he was shy – he listened carefully, but didn’t say a word. He was accepted into the cleaning services traineeship in September 2017. Through the traineeship, Zac grew in confidence and skills, and discovered he had an aptitude for leadership. ‘It’s got me more experienced, which is what I was lacking in the first place’, he says. ‘It is hard to get jobs without experience. These guys helped me out a lot. I am much less shy, that’s for sure. I will talk to anyone now.’ Zac’s father is very proud of Zac and what he has achieved. ‘He’s stoked that I went the whole way through’, Zac beams. The HopeEnterprises ETP provided Zac with support in self-development, literacy, home budgeting and computer skills. It made an enormous difference to Zac’s expectations for the future. ‘I will stick with this for a while and become a team leader. Instead of being the follower, start leading instead.’ After his graduation, Zac was offered a permanent role with opportunities for team leadership.
Judith Carpenter Judith Carpenter became a Baptist Community Services (BCS) director in 2002, at a time of rapid organisational growth. By November 2016, when Judith became chair, BCS had restructured and changed its name to BaptistCare. By then a multi-million-dollar organisation with more than 3000 staff, BaptistCare was delivering a multi-faceted array of aged care and community services under highly regulated compliance and within a volatile political environment. Given the size and sophistication of the organisation, Judith recognised the risk of becoming institutional, rather than maintaining a sense of home. With this in mind, Judith worked with CEO Ross Low and the rest of the board to ensure BaptistCare’s professed identity as a faith-based organisation remained at the heart of its service provision. Together, Judith and Ross considered how the board’s operation reflected the organisation’s faith focus. The board appointed a special executive strategy group to consider ongoing questions around maintaining Christian intent in an increasingly secularised environment, keeping pace with fast-changing technology, managing the changing expectations of clients and families, and navigating uncertainty around government funding. Judith understands that the complexity of these issues provides BaptistCare with a unique opportunity to go back to first principles. The light of BaptistCare’s original vision – to provide a home for those who are unable to do so for themselves – guides the way forward. Given the weight of issues that her board often needs to address, Judith enjoys lightening the mood. She takes chocolates to each meeting, distributing them to directors about half way through to keep up their energy levels – and no doubt their spirits too. Another significant aspect of Judith’s role is visiting facilities and services. She loves getting out and meeting staff. She says, ‘I am always blown away by the care and dedication of staff at the front line’. Her commitment to
staff is clear: after a particularly difficult situation in one aged care facility, she rang each of the mangers in all the facilities to encourage them and to find out how the board could pray for them. And pray for each of them is exactly what the board did. During her personal visits, Judith has seen first-hand how the vision for home still quietly shines. She observes, Judith Carpenter. ‘Many of our facilities have been carefully designed to provide a strong sense of home for those who live in them. Older facilities, and our services, evidence home in the warmth of the staff and the quality of care provided. Newer facilities offer outdoor communal spaces, perfect for family gatherings’.
Given the size and sophistication of the organisation, Judith recognised the risk of becoming institutional, rather than maintaining a sense of home.
HopeStreet HopeStreet began in the 1980s as a safe and trusted place for sex workers and the homeless in one of Sydney’s most vulnerable communities, Woolloomooloo. For more than thirty-four years, its programs have been putting faith into action by offering hope to people living with disadvantage and distress. In 2014, to ensure the continuation of this vital urban service, HopeStreet’s programs were transitioned to BaptistCare. BaptistCare was already providing a similar model of care in its community centres around NSW and in 2018, HopeStreet was expanded to encompass them all.
In 2016, Thornleigh Baptist Church ran a week-long leadership internship at the Woolloomooloo centre, which was attended by volunteers Melissa and Sophie. Woolloomooloo, they discovered, is a suburb of confronting economic disparity. Wealth and gentrification sit alongside enormous hardship. They found themselves deeply challenged; the lives of those they met forced them to confront their own privilege. During the week, Melissa and Sophie visited HopeStreet’s women’s services space, learnt about BaptistCare’s work with those affected by domestic violence and helped sort the overflowing store room in the op shop. They were very taken with the pet care initiative. Offered in partnership with the University of Sydney veterinary students, this service provides affordable monthly care for pets of locals who could not otherwise hope to access it. Melissa and Sophie realised changes could not be made quickly and everything required careful planning. Initiatives often take months, even years to be actualised. Inspired by the patience, passion and love they saw expressed daily, they realised how much the little things matter. All BaptistCare’s HopeStreet centres provide what Melissa and Sophie saw at Woolloomooloo: incremental change that can have an astounding impact on a person’s life. They summed up HopeStreet centres as places that meet ‘moments of need with moments of generosity, moments of sorrow with moments of comfort, and moments of frustration, anger and doubt with Christ-like love’.
1 Matt Young and Adam Debenham with the HopeStreet coffee van. 2 HopeStreet client with Matt Young in Woolloomooloo, 2015.
Faith into action HopeStreet began in the 1980s as a safe and trusted place for sex workers and the homeless in one of Sydney’s most vulnerable communities, Woolloomooloo. For more than thirty-four years, its programs have been putting faith into action by offering hope to people living with disadvantage and distress.
Community engagement: ‘Domestic Violence. More Than Skin Deep’ campaign For more than thirty years, BaptistCare has provided support to individuals and families impacted by domestic violence. Committed to preventing and responding to such violence against women, in 2016 BaptistCare gained accreditation as a White Ribbon Workplace. Since then, BaptistCare has hosted an annual fundraising ball to support its services in this area. The Halo Ball has grown year on year, both in guest numbers and in funds raised. It provides supporters and suppliers with the opportunity to come together and raise awareness for this important community issue.
‘That saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, it’s just not true. Domestic violence is as just much one as the other.’
*name changed for privacy
Appreciating how important it is for those experiencing domestic abuse to have people around them equipped to see and provide support, BaptistCare launched an awareness campaign with its employees and volunteers in 2016, and then to the wider community in 2018. ‘Domestic Violence. More Than Skin Deep’ provides vital information and support regarding domestic and family violence. The campaign aims to raise awareness and educate people to recognise, respond and refer. In some cases of domestic violence, the abuse is not obvious to others. This was the case for Mikayla*, who experienced more than six years of subtle violence and control at the hands of her ex-husband. At first, she didn’t recognise it as violence. ‘I thought he was being caring. But as time went on, the verbal abuse escalated.’ Even though Mikayla wasn’t being physically abused, her friends recognised what was happening. They encouraged her to leave months before she did. Every day, Mikayla was wounded by her husband’s words. Despite her vision impairment, he refused to allow her to use her cane. When away for work, he demanded she sleep with video chat on, so he could watch her. He controlled the household income, giving her a paltry allowance for food, clothing and everyday items, then criticising how she spent it. With a young son to care for, Mikayla felt trapped. When she did leave with her son, she found safety in BaptistCare’s domestic violence housing for ten months, before being offered government community housing. She gradually regained her confidence, and rebuilt her life. Mikayla wants to emphasis an important truth for others: 'That saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, it’s just not true. Domestic violence is as just much one as the other’.
Seven types of violence BaptistCare’s ‘Domestic Violence. More Than Skin Deep’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the seven types of violence: emotional, social, physical, sexual, economic, spiritual and verbal abuse.
‘Domestic Violence. More Than Skin Deep’ campaign images, 2018.
The Gracewood Community (2013–present)
The Gracewood Community is BaptistCare’s largest development to date. It features a retirement village of independent living units (The Gracewood Village), a residential aged care centre (The Gracewood Centre), and a social club (the Kellyville Social Club) all in one location. Stage one, opened in 2013, comprised seventythree modern one-, two- and three-bedroom independent living apartments, medical consulting rooms, a club house, gym, dining area, multipurpose room, library, business centre and coffee shop. Stage two, opened in 2016, comprised eighty new architecturally designed apartments with views of the natural surroundings. The final stage, to be completed in early 2020, will add eighty-eight new apartments and additional outdoor amenities. The Gracewood Village recognises the many health and social benefits of pet ownership for seniors, and allows residents to bring their pets with them when they move in. In 2014, around 200 residents and visitors packed The Gracewood Village auditorium to hear celebrity vet Dr Chris Brown, host of the popular television series Bondi Vet, speak about how best to combine pet ownership with modern apartment living. Just as Chris was explaining that it was a good idea for dog owners to select four-legged companions that weren’t too sharply intelligent, a very cute Gracewood Village resident by the name of Lucy let out one very loud bark. Was it a bark of agreement or indignation? Either way, Lucy’s contribution made for one of the most entertaining moments in an information-packed event. Residential aged care at The Gracewood Centre delivers much-needed aged care services to existing Gracewood Village residents, and to Sydney’s Hills District. The centre is comprised of 128 spacious rooms, a private function room for family gatherings, and onsite amenities including a café, chapel, salon and library. The Gracewood Centre offers ninety-six general care rooms and thirty-two secure dementia care rooms, comfortably furnished with free wi-fi and smart TVs. As a purpose-built facility, the latest
technology has been included to ensure residents are well looked after and the nursing team are effective and efficient. The Kellyville Social Club provides short day and long day respite for local people in need. It also offers day respite care for older people and people living with low to medium levels of dementia. Lunch, morning tea and afternoon tea are provided, with transport as needed. Social activities include bus trips, bowls, craftwork, light exercise, cooking, gardening and special theme and event days. A group meets on Wednesdays for discussion, history sessions and gallery visits.
2013 Stage one of The Gracewood Community opened in 2013, comprising seventy-three modern one-, two- and three-bedroom independent living apartments, medical consulting rooms, a club house, gym, dining area, multipurpose room, library, business centre and coffee shop.
1 Residents and staff at The Gracewood Centre, 2017. 2 An aerial view of The Gracewood Community, 2013. 3 (L to R) Maria Carew, Mike Furner, Penny Edwards and Ross Low with the Urban Development Institute of Australia Award for Excellence in Senior Living, 2014.
The Gracewood Community is BaptistCare’s largest development as of 2019. It features a retirement village of independent living units (The Gracewood Village), a residential aged care centre (The Gracewood Centre), and a social club (the Kellyville Social Club) all in one location in Kellyville, in Sydney’s north west.
Kath Temple Kath Temple, a teacher of horticulture and landscape design, first felt called to serve the elderly when visiting her father in an aged care facility. He had always loved to get his hands dirty, but was now relegated to watching over an inaccessible garden from his wheelchair. Sharing her sadness over this with her daughter, who was studying diversional therapy, led to a conversation about horticulture as therapy. Following her daughter’s employment as recreational activities officer at Morven Gardens, a BaptistCare facility in the Blue Mountains, Kath undertook volunteer pastoral care training and offered to engage residents in horticultural therapy. She noticed an outside area at Morven Gardens that she thought warranted improvement. Attending the annual Horticultural Therapy Landscapes Conference, Kath learned more about designing gardens for different special needs. Joining the garden committee at Morven Gardens, she offered to produce a dementia care garden concept for a grant application. Foreseeing garden design for special needs as an area needing future expertise, she involved her Diploma of Landscape Design students. Using Morven Gardens’ dementia care garden as their first project of 2018, the students presented plans to the committee in May. Morven Gardens secured grant funds for the dementia garden and work began using Kath’s original plan. They planted out raised wheelchair and care-bed accessible garden beds, which residents now
maintain and water. Since one resident likes to eat the flowers, plant selection has been very important! Kath remains involved in this ongoing project, finding it very rewarding to see residents’ demeanors change as they spend time in the improved garden. When she visits, there are always people using the garden, weather permitting. Interacting with nature brings residents so much pleasure, and helps them feel that they are making a meaningful contribution to their environment. It provides somewhere for those with dementia to wander safely, and settles agitated residents. Relatives also enjoy sitting and working in the garden with their loved ones. Kath knows her dad would have been delighted with her accessible garden at Morven Gardens. He would have been pleased she provided somewhere for others living with dementia, and their families, to get their hands well and truly dirty.
Interacting with nature brings residents so much pleasure, and helps them feel that they are making a meaningful contribution to their environment.
Jayne Fawkes In January 2019, CEO Ross Low received an email from Wendy Moran and Dale Craft. Their mother, Jean, receives services from BaptistCare Home Services care facilitator, Jayne Fawkes. Jayne and her team enable Jean, aged ninety-three, to remain living in her Newcastle home. Wendy and Dale wanted Ross to know they thought Jayne was exceptional: She serves with respect, professionalism, care, kindness, consistency and reliability. Jayne does not miss a beat. We have been so impressed with her. Her team who go to help Mum are also outstanding. Mum always gives us such positive feedback about them. They make her feel safe and comfortable. The quality of these people and the exceptional services they deliver is a credit to BaptistCare. Six weeks earlier, their mother had fallen. After four weeks of rehabilitation, she was able to return home and the sisters were keen to share their appreciation of Jayne’s efforts:
She was so impressed with Jayne and commented on how she always attends all industry meetings for ACAT and really keeps abreast of the updates and changes. Not only are her clients the beneficiaries of this, it also benefits BaptistCare as Jayne champions the organisation. Wendy and Dale went on: [Jayne is] a faithful, exceptional BaptistCare employee at the coalface of the work. Her devotion and service is the heartbeat of BaptistCare. She champions the vision of BaptistCare as the trusted name and leader in lifetransforming care and service to the aged in our community. She lives it out. BaptistCare is proud to recognise Jayne’s hard work and loyal commitment to the organisation’s principles, and to her clients. Truly, she is crafting an atmosphere of home.
She has done her job with excellence, always going above and beyond. Jayne has proactively managed Mum’s situation and communicated with rehabilitation staff on key issues. Jayne has been a rock, a most wonderful support to us in this very difficult time. We cannot praise her enough, and even when we compliment her, she is just so humble. They told how touched they had been when Jayne picked flowers for Jean’s meal table as she came along the path to visit: Before her setback, Mum always picked flowers to have on the table, as she was a keen gardener. Jayne worked out that Mum is a visual person and to encourage her, and stimulate her adjustment to being home, she picked these beautiful flowers. We realise this is not a requirement of her role, but what an incredible act of kindness and thought. She has gone above and beyond again and again. She remains humble every time we show gratitude. But to us she is a true champion.
Catherine Smith, BaptistCare manager with Jayne Fawkes.
Wendy and Dale also passed on feedback from an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) representative: 139
Presidents and Chairs of the Board
5 Oct 1944–10 Oct 1945
Rev. WL Jarvis
10 Oct 1945–4 Nov 1947
RE Walker, OAM
16 Jul 1948–12 Oct 1956
FJ Church, OBE, OAM*
12 Oct 1956–25 May 1992
FJ Church, OBE, OAM
25 May 1992–7 Nov 1992
RF Peffer, OAM
7 Nov 1992–26 Nov 2001
17 Dec 2001–15 Dec 2008
Dr GD Henderson
15 Dec 2008–10 Nov 2016
12 Dec 2016–present
Executive Officers RG Robertson**
5 Nov 1956–2 Mar 1984
RK Robb, OAM
5 Mar 1984–2 Jan 1986
11 Mar 1986–14 Mar 1994
RF Peffer, OAM
Honorary Chief Executive
4 Mar 1994–1 Sep 1994
JM Heinrich, AM
1 Sep 1994–2 Sep 2010
5 Sep 2010–present
*When FJ Church retired in 1992 he was appointed Honorary Life Member and accorded the title of President Emeritus. **When RG Robertson retired in 1984 he was appointed Honorary Life Member and accorded the title of Secretary Emeritus.
Acknowledgements BaptistCare would like to thank the many people who have collaborated to bring this historical reflection to life for our milestone seventy-fifth anniversary year. We acknowledge the time and energy that has been dedicated to this work, most notably by author Carolyn Kelshaw, together with our honorary historian Jim Mallice and executive assistant Robyn Wright. This book would not have been possible without its precursors – Striving for Excellence: excellence in Christian care by Jim Mallice and Gerry Ball (2014), and Making Their Mark – NSW/ACT Baptist Biographies by Bruce Thornton (2012). The exceptional effort that went into each of these books has paved the way for this edition. Thanks also go to Benjamin Galea, general manager – marketing & communications; Ruth McKenna, senior graphic designer; Elizabeth Byrne, PR & communication manager; and the team at Bounce Books, for their professional guidance in producing this book. There are many more than seventy-five activities, services, events and people whose stories and memories could have been shared, and we acknowledge they too are part of the tapestry that is BaptistCare’s heritage and history.
A Note from the Author My sincere thanks go to BaptistCare NSW & ACT for the privilege of working on this project. Although my name appears as the author, many people have contributed to the final product. I am enormously grateful for the invaluable assistance provided by Jim Mallice, honorary historian; Robyn Wright, executive assistant to the CEO and COO at BaptistCare; and those who have generously given their time to be interviewed, responded to questionnaires and requests for information, provided personal reflections, and agreed to have emails and stories published. I am also indebted to Bounce Books' editor, Kathryn Tafra for her excellent editing, and to my friends and family, especially my husband Alan, for their unswerving support and encouragement. Carolyn Kelshaw
First published 2019 by Bounce Books ÂŠ BaptistCare 2019 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form without written permission from the copyright holder. Some of the content is based on personal recollections, and while every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of captions, comments and credits in this book, the publisher and BaptistCare make no warranty, representation or undertaking whether expressed or implied, nor do they assume any legal liability, whether direct or indirect, or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information. Every effort has been made to identify copyright holders of material where appropriate. BaptistCare and the publisher would be happy to hear from any copyright holders who havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been acknowledged. Author: Carolyn Kelshaw for BaptistCare Editor: Kathryn Tafra of Bounce Books Designer and Illustrator: Rairu Rebolledo of Bounce Books Project Manager: Heather Shields of Bounce Books Printed in China by 1010 International
ISBN: 978-0-6482649-9-6 A catalogue record for this book is available from the National Library of Australia
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