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Mates raise $10,000 for long-awaited aged care centre

Mates raise $10,000 for long-awaited aged care centre

Mates raise $10,000 for long-awaited aged care centre

20 July 2020

The just-completed Kubirri Aged Care Centre in Mossman, North Queensland, looking out over the mountains of the Mt Lewis National Park. 

By Darryl Whitecross and Gizelle Ghidella*

Kubirri, The Salvation Army’s newest aged care facility, has received a $10,000 donation from an unexpected source.

Kubirri (pronounced koo-boo-ree), in Mossman, has just been completed but already is a welcome addition to the Far North Queensland community.

Peter Cleary and Lloyd Valentine spent two years raising the money. “We knew this project was going on and we decided it would be a good idea to (do some fundraising),” Peter said. “We did it for about two years.”

The Mossman District Nursing Home Committee is “over the moon” with what the men raised and plan to match their donation. Committee president Marjorie Norris said the donation was “touching” and the money would be used to benefit residents at the 42-bed residential facility.

“We’re very thankful for the support. The community has been wonderfully generous,” Marjorie said. “We have a couple of suggestions on what this donation could be used for and we will be discussing ideas with the project manager.” 

Marjorie described the new facility as “exhilarating”, saying the project had been a “huge part of my life” so to see take shape was “really special”.

“It’s been a top priority for so many years,” Marjorie said. “I’m so relieved to have it up and nearly operating. Aged care is an absolute necessity. We’ve needed it for so long. This location is perfect. It’s going to suit everyone really well because time is precious. Douglas Shire Council, The Salvation Army and our committee worked closely together to make sure this day would come.”

Despite COVID-19 restrictions and the effect it has had on business, construction has gone to plan with the facility expected to be officially opened on 25 August.

The Mossman District Nursing Home committee had campaigned for a nursing home for more than 20 years. Douglas Shire Council invested heavily in the project including securing more than $500,000 in funding and waiving about $250,000 in fees. The council organised the construction of a new intersection with a turning lane, a new road into the facility, footpaths, drainage, water and sewerage connections and a new substation.

Former Douglas Shire mayor Julia Leu said the centre had been a “high-priority” project. “We believe this project will boost wellbeing and provide a welcome economic windfall for Mossman,” Julia said at the beginning of construction.

The Salvation Army and the council signed a development lease in 2016 for the facility, which is being built on council land beside the Mossman hospital. Council is to transfer ownership of the land to the Army when construction is finished.

Mayor Michael Kerr said the area was an ideal location for people to consider when looking at retirement spots. The Kubirri centre is located against a backdrop of the Mossman River with views over farmland and mountains of the Mt Lewis National Park and is close to the Mossman town centre. The vicinity could easily become a retirement hub in Mossman with the council recently calling for expressions of interest for the development of a parcel of land between Kubirri and the hospital.

Michael said the council’s intention was to offer “some type of retirement living” on the land.

“I believe increasing our stock of aged-care accommodation in a considered and responsible way will permanently boost our local economy and create more local jobs,” Michael said. “We have had a couple of responses from the EOI but nothing confirmed at this stage. Council staff are currently in preliminary talks with an interested party with a view to further explore development opportunities for aged care accommodation at that site. This is still very early days.”

The Armyhas begun hiring for a variety of roles, including calling for applications for a full-time chaplain to work at the centre. As part of the role, the chaplain would be asked to provide spiritual, pastoral and emotional support to the residents as well as lead chapel services, Bible studies and funerals.

Kubirri is a figure in Aboriginal stories who holds back the evil spirit confined to the bluff above the Mossman River. Marjorie said that, according to a respected elder of the Yulanji clan, “the rock we see on the mountain is called Kubirri or commonly ‘The Good Shepherd’.

“This shepherd or spirit came to help the people living at the bottom of the mountain, the Yulanji. He defeated the demon Wurrumbu, who was eating their food source – namely the wallaby, possum etc.,” Marjorie said.

*Gizelle Ghidella is a reporter for the Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette

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