Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

St Matthews Salutes Jubilee

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

St Matthews Salutes Jubilee

Article excerpt

Byline: Jessica Powell

EARLY in 1968, Charles Bailey and Trevor Wright spearheaded the construction of homes for the aged on St Matthews Anglican Church grounds in Park Ave at Rockhampton.

Fifty years on, the thriving village is now preparing to celebrate its golden jubilee as independent aged living.

Committee president and caretaker Kathleen Hindley and committee treasurer Marlene McCaig both agree their little community has survived this long because of the residents' supportive nature.

Kathleen moved into the village in June 2004 and Marlene in October 2013.

Marlene, who is a self-confessed lover of history, said all of the research she and Kathleen have done on the village is from a deep respect for those who pioneered it.

"It was independent living for those who were working class," Marlene said.

"It was built to be an affordable option."

In 1967, donations for construction were received from North Rockhampton Rotary Club ($800), Fitzroy River Lions Club ($200) and St Matthews Building Fund ($1300). Donations also came from those seeking accommodation within the village.

On March 30, 1968, the Right Reverend Anglican Bishop of Rockhampton Donald Sherman officially opened and blessed the village. Since then, each of the 41 cottages has been individually blessed upon opening.

"I always say we have the most blessed little village going," Marlene smiles.

"If you're ever feeling lonely, all you need to do is go for a walk and someone is always up for having a cuppa and a chat.

"Everybody looks after everybody. It's like old time friendliness."

"The village was built on community help, and that's exactly what has kept it going all these years," Kathy said.

With bustling social lives, the village residents keep themselves busy with monthly dinners, a sewing circle, dine-out nights, bus trips and indoor bowls.

"We also have monthly birthday celebrations for anyone whose birthday it is that month," Kathy said.

"Some of the cottages have only ever had two or three residents since opening, which I think goes to show the great community that has been built," Marlene said. …

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