Ambitious, bold and community spirited this is a fantastic story which is an example of how positive people can make good things happen for many!
A brief overview presenting the story in three phases.
Phase One – The Vision
“This is a place for a Village!” exclaimed Frank Rickards, in response to Bishop Theodore McCall’s vision, as they arrived at Howard Mc Donald’s acerage in mid 1964. The site was so far out of town, along dirt tracks, it would have been impossible for many to fathom the potential or even where to start.
The vision was challenging and there were many critics concerned about wasting money and how the aged should be cared for at home.
Sighting the location became part of the vision.
The vision was to establish an environment in which people may age with dignity.
Phase Two – The dawning of ageing with dignity
At that time there were no aged support services in Wangaratta and the Region. There was no District Nursing, no Aged and Disability Services, no Respite Care, no Aged Psychiatric Services and no Residential Aged Care.
Mayor H.P. Bar, however, wanted Wangaratta to become known as a wonderful place to age.
It was the late 1960’s and it was the age of the dawning of ‘Ageing with Dignity’ and the Anglican leaders and Wangaratta community had both visionaries and those with the ability to lead the way in making it all happen.
Phase Three – Celebrating remarkable individuals
The Village was the vision of Bishop Theodore McCall and Fr James Trainer was employed to implement that vision. The Anglican church was the auspice body and the Wangaratta and surrounding community were deeply involved in all aspects of the development. The first stage was achieved in record time and consisted of 16 units to accommodate 18 people.
What was accomplished in those early years was a shadow of the impressive development that is St. John’s Village as we know it today. But beginnings matter, however small and this month, 50 years on, we pay tribute to those who took up the vision and were determined to implement it.
Some of the most well known of these remarkable individuals include:
- Jean Mc Donald who led in building the culture that underpins St. John’s belief system today, Care, Compassion and Respect
- Greg Hynard who further developed and led the professionalism and perfecting the quality standards, policies and procedures and regulations
- Joe Caruso maintained this professionalism and continued to link back into, and grow community relations
- Neville Mc Cormack is recognised for providing outstanding leadership as Chair of the St. John’s Village Board for many years.
You will be able to read about these and many other remarkable individuals, who went way beyond expected levels of commitment, in a soon to be published official history of St. John’s Village by Rod Davis.
This brief overview has been drafted with reference to ‘An Edited Address by the Right Reverend Keith Rayner, Fifth Bishop of Wangaratta, at St John’s Village, 1stFebruary, 2008’.