Kilmore District Health acting aged care nurse unit manager Jamie Duffy, Annie McLean, chief executive David Naughton, Gabrielle Hanson and Kim Curry ahead of the 30th anniversary of Caledenia Nursing Home's official opening.

By Max Davies

Caladenia Nursing Home will this week celebrate the 30th anniversary of its official opening.

Opened in 1991, the $2.7 million, 30-bed facility has become an integral part of the Kilmore community, with many residents and staff members coming from the town and surrounding areas.

Caladenia Nursing Home was largely funded by residents from across the shire, with donations of equipment and time creating a special community-involved project.

The Free Press featured the facility’s opening in its June 19, 1991 edition, reporting that people were excited to have a place in Kilmore where their loved ones would be cared for.

The offical opening, on August 11, 1991, attracted a crowd of about 400 people.

Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop was meant to officially open Caladenia, after he had launched the appeal and dedicated the site in 1988 but the then 84-year-old was in a car accident just days before.

Then Health Minister Maureen Lyster stepped in do the official proceedings.

Caledenia Nursing Home’s sister-in-charge Maria Rodda is pictured with The Kilmore and District Hospital chief executive Graham Kemp and acting matron Pat Arnott when the aged care facility opened in June, 1991.

Nearly $1.5 million was donated from the local community, while $542,000 came from the Kilmore, Broadford and Romsey shires.

Nurses Kim Curry and Annie McClean first worked together 30 years ago and were both working on the first day of operations at the nursing home.

“We both worked on the first day,” Ms Curry said.

“We set everything up, washed windows, and got the place ready for opening.”

Ms Curry and Ms McClean still work at the home, forming a strong friendship as the two nurses on night shift for 20 years.

In its 30-year history, the home has received multiple upgrades to improve facilities and equipment that was not available when it first opened, allowing for better comfort for residents.

Most notably, the home has received lifting equipment and low beds to help residents who struggle with movement and mobility, allowing caring for residents to become easier and more efficient for nursing staff.

Ms Curry reflected on her experiences at the home since its opening.

“You felt like you were all family,” she said.

“Local staff knew patients as they lived in town, many friendships were formed through the relationships of staff and residents.”

Ms McClean said one of her fondest memories from Caladenia was her wedding day in 1992.

“I was the first person from the home to be married,” she said.

“We had photos with the bride and groom out the front with residents on the wedding day.

“They were throwing confetti and celebrating, it was all really special. ”

Caladenia aims to maintain its reputation of a homely atmosphere, especially as the home returns to normality following COVID-19 lockdowns, which has resulted in visitor restrictions.

To enquire about places at Caladenia, acting nurse unit manager Jamie Duffy on 5734 2155.

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