The Founding Years of Fairview Village – Part 1

Fairview Homes was opened with great fanfare in 1960 by the Federal Minister for Social Services Mr Robertson.

Few West Gippsland organisations have captured the goodwill, compassion and community spirit displayed at Fairview Village.

As the region’s first aged care service forged through fierce cooperation between local governments, organisations and spirited community members “Fairview Village was a pathfinder in its efforts to better quality of living for the elderly.

Officially opened in 1960 by the then Federal Minister for Social Services to great fanfare, Mr Robertson said the home was a tribute to the people of the three local shires, and would receive every possible support from the Federal Government.

“These things must come from the hearts and souls of the people and I want to say how profoundly grateful I am to the people for rising to the occasion so splendidly,” Mr Robertson, as quoted in the Warragul Gazette.

For original committee member Alan Pugh, who as a young family man quickly became swept up in the public push to bring aged care to West Gippsland, Fairview’s formation was an “obvious” solution to drastic social change at the time.

“The economy had changed dramatically in the post-war years, Australian families had more money and were becoming more mobile, which led to some mums and dads or grandmas and grandpas needing a place to be cared for,” Mr Pugh said this month.

While aged care is a service now taken for granted, Mr Pugh said it was very much a new concept in the 1950s, when the frail and elderly were “needlessly” occupying beds at the West Gippsland Hospital.

The pursuits of the community led paradigm shift soon paid off under the leadership of Chairman Phil MacDonald, with West Gippsland Hospital donating 5 acres of land at the meagre price of one pound per acre.

“As we developed a not for profit model, which was not a term we used in those days, the money started to flow in, and the community saw there were enough funds to start building on this site,” Mr Pugh said.

Fairview Village soon became one of the first Australian aged care services to receive state and federal funding, in addition to generous donations from local citizens, local governments, the Warragul Auxiliary and other organisations.