Celebrating 40 Years

On Thursday August 5 1982, the first AGM for the Hospice Care Association took place in St David’s Church Hall, Aphrasia Street, Newtown. Four decades later, we acknowledge and celebrate the creation of a very special and unique organisation supporting people in end-of-life care.

A trip to St Christophers Hospice in London in 1979 was the catalyst for Dr Trevor Banks to return to Geelong, recognising the need for a Hospice in the local community.

Dr Banks chose to discuss his visits and ideas with the then Director of Medical Services at Geelong Hospital, Dr. M.R. (Taffy) Jones, the Director of Nursing Services, Miss Marjorie Taylor (Walkowski) and one of the hospital Chaplains, Rev. Ron Scott.

By the beginning of 1981 there was a definite commitment to developing a hospice service in Geelong, as a home care service. The major focus then became a matter of funding such a service. The Board of Management decided that it should commence operation on March 1st, 1982, as a home care-based service to patients.

Geelong Hospice Care pioneered domiciliary care. It provided 24-hour in-home care for terminally ill cancer patients, at no cost to the patient. This enabled the patient to live as full a life as possible in a caring family environment. The hospice maintained a close working relationship with health care services, as it was becoming apparent that more interest was developing in Australia.

From the words of an original Hospice nurse Laurel Ling: 

I loved my time overwhelmingly at Hospice. The organisation allowed and encouraged total no cost patient/family care. As we used to say, ‘the service we offer is priceless and that is exactly what it will cost you’. It was such a trailblazing way of caring for dying people and always with individual respect and love. The time I was with Hospice was the most rewarding, loving, caring, professional, knowledgeable time I have ever worked.”

As a result of changes in the allocation of Government funding in the late 1990’s, direct care of patients was taken over progressively by Barwon Health. The extensive knowledge and experience of Hospice staff was shared with Community nurses who came to be major providers of palliative care.

In 2012 the Board of Geelong Hospice Care Association changed its name to Hospice Foundation Geelong to reflect the changes that came with no longer providing direct nursing care.

At the recent AGM of Hospice Foundation Geelong, held on Wednesday 26th October 2022, current and past board members, nurses and volunteers had the privilege of paying tribute to Dr. Trevor Banks. He was honoured as the founding member, a medical specialist, long serving Board member, mentor, and advocate.

Trevor, along with his daughter and son-in-law attended the AGM to receive a plaque, and the heartfelt applause and appreciation from all who attended.

In Trevor’s words “palliative care was about ensuring patients lived their last hours, days or weeks to the fullest. It’s about quality of life”. The Hospice Foundation remains very significant to Trevor who continues to be interested in the current programs and updates.

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Dr Trevor Banks receiving plaque in recognition of his outstanding contribution to palliative care.

Hospice Foundation Geelong has continued to partner with its many service providers to enhance the care and comfort of palliative care patients and allowing choice of care in their own home.

The Foundation aims to continue the vision of the founders, and the work of the many nurses, volunteers and community members which commenced as the Geelong Hospice Care Association in 1982.