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Rowes Bay says ‘cheers’ to 30 years

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Residents living at Bolton Clarke’s Rowes Bay retirement village have gathered to say cheers to 30 years of Rowes Bay with a special luncheon and a market day for the whole community.

Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill and Cr Ann-Maree Greaney joined original residents of the village and special guests June Hunter, Les ‘Doc’ Sinclair and Kath Miller at a celebratory luncheon to cut the cake. All three have been residents of the village since it first opened on 29th June 1991 with 45 residents.

Each of the three residents shared how special the village was to them, and how much the community felt like home.

June Hunter said she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“I have had very good times over the years,” she said.

Kath Miller agreed that there is a closeness of connections in the village.

“I’m English and on the other side of the world (from home) and now the village is my family,” she said.

Les ‘Doc’ Sinclair echoed many other residents’ sentiments about the beauty of the village and its location.

“I like it – where else would you get a view like that!” he said.

The celebration in the recently refurbished community hall recognised the Rowes Bay village as part of a proud history of supporting local communities, spanning over 200 years. RSL Care opened its first War Veterans’ Home in Brisbane in 1938 and the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) began with a single nurse in Melbourne in 1885, tending to the sick and poor in their own homes. In 2015, the two organisation came together and in 2017 adopted the new name Bolton Clarke to honour early leaders Brigadier William Kinsey Bolton (first national president of the Returned Soldiers and Sailors Imperial League of Australia) and Melbourne philanthropist Lady Janet Clarke who played a large role in the early RDNS.

Rowes Bay community was built to provide independent living options for veterans and the broader community in North Queensland and was opened by then Townsville Mayor Alderman Tony Mooney. The first stage comprised 26 one-and-two-bedroom units, a manager’s residence, community hall, hobbies workshop, swimming pool and spa. After experiencing strong demand for the beach-side units, 42 more were completed in March 1992.

In decades since, the village has grown to 145 units with the co-located aged care community added in 1994.

Residents enjoy their safe, connected community and the support they receive from village manager Stephen Pether, who was this year named a finalist in the LASA Retirement Village Manager of the Year Awards.

“It’s an absolute pleasure to celebrate what has been a wonderful 30 years for the village. I’m extremely honoured to be part of such a special celebration, and to continue to serve the village and our residents,” he said.

“I am especially pleased that we could celebrate with three people who were there at the beginning of it all.”