Our History

Our future is in our history

From a single nurse walking the streets of Melbourne and our first  veterans’ hostel in Brisbane, our history is full of human stories and a legacy of down-to-earth, practical support that still inspires and guides our work today.

Just over 130 years ago in Victoria, the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) started with just one dedicated nurse taking to the streets of Melbourne to tend to the sick and poor in their own homes.

Four decades later, as Australia reeled from the effects of one devastating war and stood poised on the edge of another, the forerunner of RSL Care was founded in Queensland with the purpose of providing accommodation, care and support for ageing ex-servicemen and women.

Through World Wars and global conflicts and huge societal change our two organisations continued to grow and innovate, serving more and more people.

Our over 200 years of combined service and common purpose led us to create Bolton Clarke, a unified not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting people to retain or regain their wellbeing and independence as fully as possible – always with the utmost dignity and respect.

Our story is made up of many stories, shared with thousands of Australians over our long history of service. They’re the stories of nurses on foot and on bicycles in the alley ways of pre-war Melbourne and of new beginnings for returned servicemen and their families. Today, they’re stories of telehealth services delivered over the web and more than 4  million client visits (and growing) every year.

In homes, retirement or residential care communities, Bolton Clarke continues to offer real support and resources to help our clients and residents live the life they want.

Our Name

A name isn’t just a word. It helps define who we are and sometimes, where we’ve come from.
Our name Bolton Clarke honours two key community leaders from our past whose values have shaped our organisation and still drive its purpose today.

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Find out more about Bolton Clarke independent living services today.

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