Penshurst Celebrates $6.8 million Refurbishment

Resident Marjory Banks and WDHS Board Chair Anna Sweeney cut the ribbon to officially open the $6.8 million redevelopment. Pictured here with Penshurst Director of Nursing, Catherine Loria (left) and Marjory’s daughter, Robyn Nickless (back).

On Saturday, over 140 people gathered to celebrate the official opening of a $6.8 million redevelopment project at Penshurst District Health Service (PDHS).

The project included the construction of 13 aged care rooms with ensuites, modern medical consulting areas, an acute ward, revamped main entrance and a dementia-friendly design.

Residents at the facility moved into their new accommodation wing ‘Rouse Villas’ last month, and the Official Opening was a chance for friends, family and the community to tour their spacious, light-filled new home.

Western District Health Service (WDHS) Board Chair, Anna Sweeney says the response from residents, families and staff has been overwhelming.

“One of our residents said they had ‘never ever had such a beautiful room.’ We are just so pleased with the feedback we are receiving.”

The main entrance and café areas have a streetscape design, incorporating landmarks from around Penshurst to support residents to feel more comfortable in their surroundings Mrs Sweeney said.

“Walking around the facility you can see the façade of Madigan’s Tearooms, the Penshurst Volcanoes Discovery Centre and of course the historic local Post Office. The facades help residents feel familiar with their surroundings and the new café is a great space for socialising with family and friends.”

The celebrations included speeches, a plaque unveiling and guided tours. At nearly 103 years of age, it was resident Marjory Banks, who cut the ribbon to officially open the facility, alongside WDHS Board Chair, Anna Sweeney.

Students from Penshurst Primary School also spoke at the event and the residents choir sang a medley of tunes. A special lunch was enjoyed by residents and their families, followed by afternoon tea and kid’s activities.

During the official proceedings, WDHS Chief Executive, Rohan Fitzgerald said the project represented a big step towards improving health inequities in rural and regional areas.

“This significant redevelopment represents the commitment of WDHS to ensuring that every individual, regardless of where they live, has access to the quality health and aged care services they deserve. It is a place where older people can age well, where timely medical attention is a reality, and where acute care is accessible. It is so important that we continue to invest in country areas,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

Chair of the Penshurst Advisory Committee, Wendy Williams said the old Nursing Home was built in the 1980s and was very outdated.

“The original Penshurst Nursing Home was no longer fit-for-purpose, with some residents sharing bedrooms and bathrooms due to space limitations. The refurbished rooms now offer ample space and ensuite bathrooms, significantly enhancing residents’ privacy and quality of life,” Ms Williams said.

The redevelopment project commenced in October 2021, and was largely funded by WDHS with the support of local donors, including the estate of Penshurst identity and Health Service advocate, Leo ‘Sandy’ O’Brien. A modest amount of Federal and State Government funding also assisted with the construction.

“We are grateful to everyone who supported the redevelopment, as well as the staff, residents and family members who were incredibly patient while the building works were going on around them.

Thank you also to Project Manager Sensum, builder Bowden and Vincent Chrisp Architects who helped to create a spacious, modern, user-friendly space for the Penshurst community,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

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