INDEPENDENT HOUSING: Board member Alex O'Neil and vice president Col Vicary at Leichardt Lodge. Picture: Sam Turner
INDEPENDENT HOUSING: Board member Alex O'Neil and vice president Col Vicary at Leichardt Lodge. Picture: Sam Turner

North Burnett town helps elderly retain independence

IN THE heart of Mundubbera, there is a number of blocks that have been repurposed over the years for one important reason.

Leichhardt Lodge is an independent living complex for elderly and aged residents, with over 15 homes.

Constructed by the Mundubbera Senior Citizens Home Units Committee (MSCHUC), this project endeavours to house senior citizens in self contained houses and units.

Setting themselves apart from aged or healthcare living, they offer residents a chance to remain independent, in a community of local Mundubbera people.

MSCHUC board member Alex O'Neil was the secretary of the board during their official opening in 1983, erecting six homes.

"We were looking at these half-acre blocks behind our main block, with a lot of the area not being used by the neighbours," Mrs O'Neil said.

"So we asked if we could possibly use the land behind their houses, and through that we were able to begin the initial steps."

Over the years the committee has built 11 homes and four units, all with residents that have ties to the town.

What sets them apart from other community housing projects is this lodge is managed by the committee alone, with no government input on their tenants.

"This committee runs it, and only owns it for the people of Mundubbera.

"Whether it's a local who wants to live here, or their parents, or even grandparents, we want our residents to have a connection with the town."

Having no funding prior to their first six houses, the committee went about fundraising the old fashioned way.

"We made a lot of sandwiches and cups of tea over the years at all sorts of events.

"We catered to balls and things to raise money, until we had enough to build the first six homes."

Through funding, grants, and their own initiatives, they've able to continually build more residences, with Shirley and Ralph Read capturing this opportunity.

 

Board members Alex O'Neil and Col Vicary with Leichardt Lodge's new residents Shirley and Ralph Read.
Board members Alex O'Neil and Col Vicary with Leichardt Lodge's new residents Shirley and Ralph Read.

Having been on isolated cattle farms around Bundaberg, Gin Gin, and Mundubbera, the Reads have been wanting to join a tight knit community for some time.

"We're a bit wobbly on our feet these days, and we were on a farm that's a fair way out," Mrs Reed said.

"Now we're a bit closer to the community, and all the neighbours are lovely, with someone always waving to you or saying hello each morning."

Mr Reed was originally part of the committee in its early years, and now he and his wife can enjoy the independent, self contained living they deserve after years working on the land.

"It's beautiful and very nice in this house, and with our daughter and son living locally in Mundubbera, it's nice to be close to them again."

South Burnett

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