IRT Dalmeny - a history

IRT DALMENY CARE CENTRE AUXILIARY 1979 - 2016 Those behind the Auxiliary feel that this history is an important part of our community. Coming to a close, yes, but on reading back in the records of our Minute Books from 1979 to present day, we felt it important to share the works of many, many "quiet achievers", volunteering their time and efforts over a 37 year span, with the 2016 community. One lady, Margaret Houston.....was there at the beginning, and is still with us the end.

For the past 37 years members, past and present, have volunteered their time and talents, worked tirelessly to raise funds to purchase vitally needed equipment and aides for the care of residents at the IRT Dalmeny Care Centre (as it is now known).

Way back in 1976 a group of Eurobodalla Shire citizens attended a public meeting in Moruya to discuss the possibility of building a Nursing Home in the district. A group from the Narooma area lobbied to have it built here and not in Batemans Bay.

The first General Meeting of the "Narooma & Districts Auxiliary of the Eurobodalla Shire Nursing Home Appeal" was held in the Function Room of the Narooma Ex-Servicemens Club at 8pm on Monday, 26th February, 1979. 35 are recorded as attending with 15 apologies.

So began 37 years of volunteering and fund-raising.

Some highlights: # Weekly Housie. # An Art Union. First Prize? A "seaside cottage" !! Land donated by ESC, the house built by local tradespeople, grounds landscaped, at no cost. All voluntary. # Street Stalls (lots of them). # Meat Raffles, Easter Egg Raffles, Monster Christmas Stocking- you name it, they raffled it! # Organ Recitals, # Gala Dinners, just to name a few of the many, many fund-raising activities.

A suitable parcel of land was made available by the ESC and in 1979 Council gave the then Nursing Home Committee (Aux) $50,000 and in 1980 a further $10,000 to kick-start the project. A Federal Government Grant application was successful and the amazing amount of $968,000 was allocated in 1980 and 81; making the dream of a Nursing Home in Dalmeny a reality!

The Eurobodalla Shire Council took over the project in 1980, then in 1982 the Illawarra Retirement Trust (IRT), a not for profit, charitable organisation took over the project.

The building of Stage 1 commenced in June 1983. Members of the inaugural Auxiliary were photographed turning the first sod on the site (and celebrating with a bottle of champagne!)

Stage 1 was completed in May 1984. The first residents moved in on the 21st May, 1984 and Hostel residents a week later.

Meanwhile, the Auxiliary members were busy fitting out, painting, stocking the shelves, then running the "Village Kiosk" which opened on Friday 17th August 1984. Trading Hours 10am - 4.00pm. 7 days. Run by volunteers, of course!

In 1986 Margaret Houston, an original committee member back in 1979, became the first Fete Co-ordinator, a position she held for 25 years. The Auxiliary was well known for its "fabulous annual fete", which was held on the first Saturday in December. It became one of the highlights on the social calendar for local residents who always turned up in huge numbers to support the event.

As well as the Annual Fete, Auxiliary members continued fund-raising activities throughout the years, holding One of a Kind Fashion Parades, Country Fairs, running the Village Shop for residents and their families, as well as stalls at the Narooma Oyster Festival and Rotary Markets.

The Auxiliary took over Charity Bingo at Club Narooma in 2009 and has been running this continuously every Sunday and Monday until November, 2016. This became the major fundraiser and it was a huge undertaking, involving many committed members, volunteers, and wonderful Club staff.

Thousands and thousands of dollars have been raised by people in our community who have joined the IRT Dalmeny Care Centre Auxiliary. All members have experienced personal satisfaction in knowing that in the true sense of the word "volunteer", time and service has been given unconditionally for the betterment of the quality of life of elderly fellow citizens.

Our charter was to assist in improving the quality of life of residents in high and low level care at IRT Dalmeny Care Centre. To engage in fundraising to provide equipment and aides to assist staff in achieving that quality of life for the residents. We have achieved that and more, and along the way, we have had a lot of fun and made lifelong friendships.

Thank you to all past and present members of the Auxiliary, IRT management and staff, residents, local Community groups, businesses and Clubs, and our wonderful community. We couldn't have done it without your support.

Lesley Heffernan


IRT Dalmeny Care Centre Auxiliary

Disclaimer: Information taken from records in the Minute Books 1979 -2016

Photo above taken by Ellinor McNabb shows Auxiliary members turning the first sod for the Village. From left, Beatrice Meaker, Mary Bain, Dorothy Philip, Lorna Mood, Rae Finch, Jess Rossell, Margaret Houston, Dorothy Lewis and Ruth Odgers, with spade.

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