Local builders may remember 1994 as being a very good year – if construction activity in Broulee was anything to go by. No less than three important Broulee locations were getting ready to open their doors for the first time in 1995: Banksia Village, Broulee Public School and Carroll College. And all three are celebrating their 25th anniversaries this year. Graham Wise, CEO of Banksia Villages said he was delighted to be celebrating Banksia’s important 25th birthday milestone. “2020 has been a tough year for our local community, so the commemoration of a Silver Jubilee is a really positive event that helps us remember and celebrate our achievements and acknowledge the company’s early founders and their efforts,” he said. ”Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has made it necessary to put Banksia’s plans for a celebration event on hold; but this will take place as soon as it’s safe to do so. In the meantime, though, we have produced a special a commemorative card to mark this important occasion,” added Mr Wise. Banksia has maintained warm links with Carroll College and Broulee Public School over the past 25 years. For example, students have given numerous concerts for Banksia residents and regularly visited Banksia Lodge. Some of Banksia’s residents also volunteer at the schools to help with reading and have been treated as VIP guests for some of the schools’ performances. When the first residents of Banksia Lodge and Banksia Village moved in to their new homes 25 years ago, they probably could not have imagined the vibrant, forward-looking community of Broulee in 2020. Julie Knight, who has worked for Banksia Villages since 1995, has seen many changes in her time. “I’ve worked as a receptionist and activities officer, I’ve even driven the mini bus on outings over the years,” she said. “I’ve loved getting to know the residents, and some of them have watched my family grow and still ask after my son, who is now 19”. One of the very first residents to move into Banksia Village’s retirement villas in 1995 was June Rourke, now aged 101 and still at Banksia! June has especially cherished all the friendships she has made in the past quarter of a century. A charitable and not for profit organisation, Banksia has extensively expanded both its site and its services over the years. Banksia’s home care service, Banksia Community Care, commenced in 2015 and provides home care throughout the Eurobodalla Shire. Banksia Lodge residential aged care facility, which originally housed 32 aged care residents, is now home to around 80 residents. And its independent retirement living community, Banksia Village, started out with 32 villas and has grown in stages to its current total of 121 two and three bedroom villas. Another eight retirement villas are currently in planning. The opening of these three businesses in 1995 firmly established Broulee’s reputation as a tight-knit, family-friendly community. With the continued growth of Broulee as a suburb, it will be interesting to see what has changed by the time their Golden Jubilee comes around.
Above: Julie Knight, Banksia employee since 1995
Above: June Rourke, a Banksia resident since 1995 still lives at Banksia and celebrated her 101st birthday this year