Archival donation helps link history with purpose

HammondCare marked the 83rd anniversary of the founding of Hammondville on Friday, November 20 by saying thank you to the daughter of the area’s first manager and school teacher.

Bridgid McLean recently donated valuable archival material passed on by her parents, Charles ‘Mac’ McLean and Beth McLean (Beard) including early photos, documents and historical items.

83 event 05 250Rev Bob Hammond founded Hammond’s Pioneer Homes - now the south-western Sydney suburb of Hammondville - during the Great Depression and the first 11 cottages were officially opened on November 20, 1932.

Destitute families from Sydney’s inner city were offered a home and a new life in one of Australia’s most successful social housing projects.

By the time the Depression was over, 110 cottages were occupied with families rent-purchasing their house and securing their future. Many of these families still have ties to Hammondville. Notable ‘Hammondville kids’ from this early period include Jim Masterton, John Hatton, and country singer George Payne.

When the need for ‘pioneer homes’ was met, the charity founded by Hammond made some of the nation's earliest forays into integrated aged care – looking after older “battlers” without the resources to provide for themselves.

HammondCare continued to look for ways to support the most vulnerable in society when it developed internationally acclaimed approaches to dementia care during the 80s and 90s and is now Australia’s largest dementia specific aged care provider.

As well, HammondCare has extensive community and hospital-based health services majoring in palliative care, rehabilitation, pain and positive ageing.

HammondCare’s Head of Public Affairs, Peter Hallett, said Hammondville continues to be a major centre for HammondCare - alongside locations throughout NSW and Victoria - and the archival donation from Brigid McLean would help in connecting the charity's original purpose and ethos with the services provided today.

“Rev Bob Hammond had a policy of giving his best for people enduring the worst moments of their lives, with remarkable faith that improved quality of life could occur. HammondCare seeks to outwork that ideal every day.”

83 event 04 500

A book detailing the history of HammondCare, including the early days at Hammondville, was published in 2013 - Faith in Action: HammondCare by Meredith Lake.

Meredith spoke at the anniversary/thank you event and noted the courage of Beth Beard (McLean) in coming to the relatively primitive school environment of Hammondville in its first year as well as later endeavours which included teaching at Alice Springs during World War Two.

Hammondville Public School's current principle, Ken Smith, and two students, were on hand to receive copies of historical photos of the school from the archival collection.

A display of some of the archival materials continues at Hammondville (HammondGrove and Bond House) this week and will move to Kent St head office next week.

Hammondville Bus 1933 500px