Fifty years strong

Community members are invited to a celebration at Emmerton Park on Tuesday December 6, marking 50 years since the award-winning Smithton aged-care facility was established. Celebrating already are CEO Robert Barden and employees Yvonne Burke, Toni Hennessy, who is Emmerton Park’s longest serving employee reaching 38 years last week, and Gaylene de Jonge. Picture: Ashleigh Force.

Milestone. Emmerton Park is celebrating 50 years next month, and the community is invited along to reflect on the journey.

From humble beginnings in 1966, as a small organisation to look after Circular Head’s elderly, Emmerton Park has grown to become one of the most successful community based organisations in Tasmania.

It was 1964 when Harry Emmerton bequeathed 14,000 pounds to Smithton Hospital for the purchase of equipment – the hospital board led by Arthur Ambrose proposed the money be used to establish housing for the elderly of the district.

In 1968, the first independent living units were built with the aim of providing low cost, quality affordable housing to Circular Head’s aged residents. In the ‘70s it was found the greatest need facing the ageing residents was the need for hostel accommodation and a huge community fundraising effort made that possible: the Wybia Motel was purchased in 1977 and the Emmerton Park Auxiliary was formed to assist with setting up the facility. Much of the early work of the auxiliary was manual including the voluntary cooking at the hostel on weekends. Fundraising became more important as the years passed.

In 1978, Emmerton Park opened as a fully refurbished 26 bed facility.

A short two years later the hostel looked in danger of closing however volunteers rallied again to save the site, which was at the time without federal funding.

As the community support further strengthened, the site expanded with more rooms and a courtyard games room.

It was at the turn of the century that a move with the times was proposed: a 60 bed nursing home on a green field site. Cue more community support along with local, state and federal funding and the proposal became a reality with building of the new $8.5 million facility commencing at Senior Drive in 2006.

Now with 61 residential beds, 66 independent living units and room to expand in the village setting, Emmerton Park has only strengthened over the past few years. This has been punctuated with numerous awards including Tasmanian Aged Care Organisation of the Year in 2011 and 2012, and then the national equivalent the following year.

To celebrate the milestone with the Emmerton Park family, head along to the 50 year celebration on Tuesday December 6 when the Smithton aged-care facility will host an afternoon of fun for residents, staff, volunteers and the wider community.

The celebration will kick off at 1.30pm with a tune or two from the talented Emm and Friends choir, who love it when visitors join in the merriment.

Following this, the winners of an art competition for the occasion will be announced.

Cutting of the cake and afternoon tea will take place at 2.30pm, and from 5pm a gold themed cocktail party will be held in the new Club House situated near the independent living units in Upper Grant Street.

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