2011 marked the Centenary of the service. A number of key events took place from a community display, a progessive dinner for all the staff and commitee, to a Community Gala Event. The year culminated in a visit by the Governor General Ms Quentin Bryce, who formally closed the year of celebration.
A new book celebrating the history has also been printed and is available for sale. This was launched during the Centenary year celebrations.
Following is a overview of the history with an extended version also available.
|7 April 1911||Inaugural meeting at the town hall|
|14 May 1911||First district nurse, Nurse Reeves, is provided with a tram pass |
|May 1923 ||First car purchased |
|1940/50's ||The office operates from Lena Trevenen's home|
|1960||Seven nurses are employed and seven cars are in use |
|1960s ||The Armstrong Street purpose-built headquarters are completed|
|1973||The organisation has grown to ten nurses and three admin staff |
|1990||First CEO/General Manager is appointed|
|1993 ||Sturt Street premises is purchased|
|1994||Organisation expands to 40 nurses and 25 administration staff|
|2001||New CEO is appointed|
|2002 ||Name change to Ballarat District Nursing and Healthcare |
|2005||73 staff, 52 nurses, 21 administration staff and 26 cars|
|2010||100 staff, 70 nurses, 30 administration support staff and 31 cars|
7 April 1911 - Inaugural Meeting Town Hall
The inaugural meeting of the Ballarat District Nursing Society was called by the Mayor of the City of Ballarat and Mayor of the Town of Ballarat East, to be held at the Town Hall on 7 April 1911, with Mayoress Mrs. T. T. Holloway presiding. The formation of the Society was assisted by the Geelong and Melbourne District Nursing organisations and the Rules of Association that were agreed for the Ballarat Society were adapted from the Geelong and Melbourne District Nursing organisations' rules.
Most members of the Ballarat Clergy, the Jewish community and the Town and City Mission took a great interest in the Society and they were the main people, together with the medical profession, who referred patients to the Society for attention. They also attended the Annual Meetings and tried to outdo one another with flowery phrases about the wonderful work the Society was providing to the community of Ballarat.
It was resolved that two of the four Vice Presidents would be the Mayoress of the City and the Mayoress of the Town, and the President was elected by the Committee. Many of the ladies who served on the Committee over time were well known for their philanthropic activities, and their role was to run the organisation through fund-raising and donations which were obtained mainly through door knocking. The ladies also donated money to the 'Christmas Cheer' where small gifts and 'nourishment' were provided to the poorer members of the community.
14 May 1911- First district nurse, Nurse Reeves, is provided with a tram pass
Nurse Reeves was appointed as the first district nurse on 14 May 1911, and an Executive Committee of ten ladies was elected. Membership of the Society was fixed at one shilling and the Ballarat Dispensary promised to supply all medicines required free of cost for at least the first year. This promise was honoured for a considerable number of years during the early days of the Society.
Nurse was provided with a free pass to travel on the trams if patients were on a tram route. A bicycle was purchased for people away from tram transport and, of course, there was always walking as a means of getting around.
Nurse Reeves reported to the Committee each month on her visits, usually between 160 and 224 per month, nd she was empowered to provide other benefits to people who were suffering hard times, food and sometimes clothing, to assist against Ballarat's inclement weather. The nurse filled the role of district nurse, welfare officer, clerical assistant (who collected the money from patients) and all telephone calls were made to her personal phone.
In 1914 Nurse Roberts, previously the Matron of the Ararat Hospital before accepting the role of district nurse, was called up to have a medical examination prior to enlisting in the first World War. Nurse Roberts was accepted and served on several hospital ships. She was always provided with a hearty afternoon tea when home on leave, and in March 1916 it is noted that she has attained the promotion to Sister Roberts. The ladies of the Committee did not replace her with a permanent nurse, rather a relieving nurse, and when Sister Roberts returned from war and asked for her position back, the request was duly granted. The good work of Sister Roberts had not gone unnoticed and in the minutes of May 1920, she was included in the investiture list and received the Red Cross Star from the Prince of Wales, much to the delight of the ladies.
May 1923 - First Car Purchased
In May 1923 the Committee agreed that the nurse could no longer continue to service the large number of patients by bicycle, and a motion was passed that a second-hand motor vehicle be purchased 'to conserve the energy and time of nurses and in this way more patients could be attended to without unduly fatiguing the nurse'.
Donations were sought from many places and the Society finished up with a good second-hand vehicle and enough money to begin a car maintenance account, completing the year with a balance of 100 pounds in excess of what they started with.
1940/50's - Office at Lena Trevenen's home
Mrs. Lena Trevenen was one of the stalwarts of the organisation working in a voluntary capacity for 46 years, 30 of which she served as Secretary as well as assuming the role of Treasurer when required.
1960 - Seven nurses and seven cars
For a long period of time the Society was run from Mrs. Trevenen's home in Barkly Street. The nurses obtained their lists for the day from Mrs. Trevenen and stores were kept at her home. She also maintained the records of the Society. The lounge room became the main office, however by 1960 it was decided this could no longer continue and the Committee decided there was a need for a headquarters in Ballarat. The Committee began to work towards raising sufficient money to build an appropriate building. By this time, there were seven nurses operating out of seven motor vehicles. This involved major stress without a building from where to undertake both administration and garage the motor vehicles.
1960's - Armstrong Street purpose-built headquarters are completed
A block was purchased and the headquarters were purpose built in Armstrong Street with sufficient land to garage the vehicles of a night. The Society moved into this building which was free of debt thanks to the diligent work of the Committee and funding through the Hospitals and Charities Commission.
1973 - Ten nurses and three administration staff
By 1971, the number of nurses had increased to nine with an additional three people on the administration staff . The 1972 minutes show that the Committee were at last very confident in their efforts to continually change the vehicles when required . They undertook the research necessary to purchase new vehicles to suit their needs. They were also fortunate in the number of bequests that occurred when patients nominated a specific sum of money be made available to the Society through their wills, and this assisted the Society in the management of their funds.
By 1973 the number of nurses had increased to the extent that a request went to the Hospitals and Charities Commission for more administrative staff. Ten nurses and three clerical persons were employed at this time with 2,240 visits being made to patients during a one month period.
1990 - First CEO/General Manager appointed
The Society continued in this way until 1993, when there were around 40 nurses working out of 25 vehicles and the present building was having difficulty coping with both the increase in numbers and working conditions for the staff.
The first CEO was appointed in 1990 and the Committee worked hard to finance a change of location to accommodate the increased growth, some of which could be credited to the introduction of Medicare.
1993 - Sturt Street premises purchased
The Society moved to their present address in 1993, taking over a factory building with a large area which could accommodate the number of motor vehicles required to be garaged on the site. A Manager instead of a CEO was appointed in 1994.
2002 - Name change to Ballarat District Nursing and Healthcare
In 2002, the name of the organisation was changed to Ballarat District Nursing and Healthcare in consideration of the increase in services that was being provided, and a new logo was developed to encourage the abbreviation of the name - BDNH.
This building was enlarged and renovated twice, once in 1995 and again in 1997 to accommodate growth. At the present time, the organisation is looking at a third enlargement which should take into account increasing staff numbers and future needs for the next ten years.
2012 - 100 staff, 70 nurses, 30 administration support staff and 31 cars
Presently, there are approximately 100 staff employed, 70 of whom are nurses. The fleet of motor vehicles used for transporting staff to the large number of people who require services, remains at around 31 vehicles. In 2009/10, BDNH provided visits to 1,645 clients, which occasioned staff to travel over 433,000 kilometers. The financial turnover for the year peaked at $3.7million.
The role of Ballarat District Nursing and Healthcare is still the same as it was 100 years ago. We provide home nursing care to clients who are referred from medical practitioners and hospitals. In most cases, we enable them to stay at home or to return to their home where they are cared for until they are either well again, or have been moved into residential facilities.