History of Blairlogie

26 July 1984

Frankston S.D.S. initiates discussion of post-secondary options for their students (21 +) with a questionnaire (Denyse Dick).

8 November 1984

Meeting at Frankston S.D.S. on post-secondary concerns chaired by Joy Hooper, Naranga (Zenda Richardson), Wongabeena (Ruth Jones) and Nepean School, (Barry Lambert) represented in the discussion. Parents present include Carol Pollard, Lawrie Heysham, Tim Haining, George and Marlene De Lany. Teachers present include Denyse Dick. Interested community members Greg and Cathy Campbell attend.

Pilot committee formed: Cathy Campbell, Tim Haining, Denyse Dick, Carol Pollard, Lawrie Heysham, George De -Lany, Margaret McGreggor Joan Churchill, Dorothy McDonald, Marion Watt.

Meeting agreed that they wanted an outdoor facility, where people could work with their hands and get exercise daily. Originally envisaged as for all people with disabilities, not just intellectually disabled, and as a place where people passed through, in the transition between school and finding a job.

Project aims:

  • To provide a working environment that fosters the development of vocational and related skills and thereby encourage movement towards open employment.
  • To provide an environment in which success and job satisfaction will be found with the opportunity to work for an income.
  • To provide the least restrictive placement for disabled people. The support being provided only to the degree necessary for each person.
  • To reduce or eliminate the handicapping consequences that will occur if an ongoing learning environment is not available to disabled students exiting school.
  • To promote active Involvement of staff and program participants in the planning and running of the program.

The committee began the search for an appropriate site, looking at a variety of properties in Baxter, Pearcedale, and Hastings. Located a 12-acre property “Blairlogie” for sale at Newton Avenue Baxter.

First approach to C.S.V. to establish the project was knocked back, the government did not want to establish another centre on the Peninsula. Suggested the committee look at establishing the project as an annex of an existing centre.

14 March 1985

Living and Learning for Disabled People (LLDP) formed, and application sent for incorporation as a community association. It eventually took 18 months to incorporate.

23 March 1985

Auction at “Blairlogie”

The property was passed in at auction. The committee didn’t bid, because they didn’t yet have any funds, but canvassed all the other bidders stating their intention to buy it.

March-November 1985

Having located the right property, a search for funds began. The search was initially fruitless, and the project looked sure to falter by late 1985. Then a businessman connected with one of the committee members offered to buy the property for the project, on condition that he remained anonymous. Committee approached CSV again, saying that property could be purchased. Negotiations to buy the property then began in earnest, and after much haggling, the sale was concluded. The centre was given a 50 year lease by the owners.

April-September 1985

CSV advised approaching Kankarma, with the object of seeking their assistance. However, discussions were unsuccessful, so the committee turned to C.S.V. again.

September 1986

CSV now gave support for the project, and offered assistance with rental, conditional on the project focusing only on the needs of people with intellectual disabilities, and the committee becoming formally incorporated.

27 September 1985

Registered as a charity.

10 March 1986

Took over Newton Avenue property.

Working bees take place from now on as the property was very run down. It had formerly been used to run horses and breed dogs. The first priority after take-over was to clear away all the blackberries and long grass. Two army lorry loads of rubbish out of the sheds were also taken away (the army help was through a contact of a friend of the S.D.S.). At times there were 80 people at working bees, with strong community support. One of the long sheds was lined and the floor concreted to transform it into a craft room.

7 April 1986

First AGM of L.L.D.P. at Blairlogie.

Inaugural Board of Management was:

  • President: Tim Haining
  • Vice President: Denyse Dick
  • Secretary: Sue Robinson
  • Treasurer: Dick Hunt
  • Members: Mabs and Ted Lay, Lawrie Heysham, Wendy Bourns George and Marlene De Lany, Roger Macdonald, Cathy Campbell, B. Brain.

8 June 1986

“Getting to know you” afternoon tea held at the farm for the neighbours and Board. There was to be hostility from some of the neighbours, and this was an attempt to smooth the waters. One neighbour came to visit.

July 1986-February 1987

Planning permit process through Cranbourne Council. This becomes very bogged down in debates about the prospective harm to the amenity of the area by having people with intellectual disabilities free within the community. The matter nearly went to appeal at the Planning Appeals Tribunal, but was settled with a concession to relocate the main gate away from the corner, and planting privacy trees along the top boundary.

The council also had problems with the nature of the proposed activities, nearly forcing the re-zoning of the property as a school.

10 October 1986

Incorporated

October 1986

Bill and Judy Robinson engaged as caretakers. They lived firstly in the house, and then in April 1987, moved to what became the carer’s flat next to the independent living quarters. Shirley Planner becomes involved with the Association.

1986

$84,000 grant from CSV to set up the farm Funding obtained to build an Independent living flat. The top section of the dog kennels, including the old kennel office, was converted into suitable accommodation.

6 November 1986

Registered as a Day Training Centre (Mental Health Act 1959, Section 35 (2). (Registration had been held up by the drawn-out Incorporation process.)

February 1987

Program Director (Laurie Jeal) appointed to commence in March.

February – March 1987

Clients interviewed.

9 April 1987

Blairlogie Centre opened with twelve clients started on the first day, and six more to come. Original clients include Karen Heysham, Lisa Pollard, and Brett De Lany.

Staff were Program Director (Laurie Jeal), Two Instructors (Jay Jarvie and Mark Torode), parttime Executive Officer (Shirley Planner), part-time Secretary (Karen de Lange), and bus driver, (David Braddley).

A 12-seater commuter bus was provided by CSV

November 1987

Official opening by Brian Howe, MP, Minister for Social Services.

1987

Doug Tilley, a retired veteran, became caretaker. Doug looked after the poultry, equipment, security, and grounds.

12 November 1988

Greg and Cathy Campbell, and Robin Cooper MP, were recognised as life governors.

6 February 1989

Sue Robinson recognised as a life governor.

6 October 1989

“Blairlogie – A Growing Concern” registered as business name.

1990

Shepherds Nursery donate 130 fruit trees. The orchard is planted.

13 August 1990

Denyse Dick and Mabs Lay recognised as life governor

1990s

Recession. Two clients who had moved on to get jobs lose them. Our clients are the most vulnerable members of the labour market in economic hard times, when one in every three young people can’t get work. Board sees the need to reassess direction – particularly in the light of changes in funding arrangements from State and Federal Governments.

18 Aug 1990

Denyse Dick and Mabs Lay leave committee, and are recognised as life governors.

1991

Staff reorganisation takes place and the caretaker’s flat becomes the carers flat in the independent living program.

1992

Supported Employment program, “The A Team” mowing group underway.

2 March 1992

Sandra Darby becomes a life governor.

14 Sept 1992

Tim Haining, Lawrie Heysham, Jan Parker, George De Lany become life governors.

22 Aug 1994

Rod Puls becomes Executive Officer.

July 1995

Plans underway to develop the nursery business – nursery manager hired.

24 March 1996

First Open Day

April 1996

Offer from DHS of funding to purchase property and build new Centre within the city of Casey. After a search of several months, land was purchased at 685 North Road Cranbourne South and plans were drawn up for a suitable facility.

The planning process was complicated by objections from some residents which culminated in a hearing at VCAT. There was also pressure from the new owner of the Newton Road property who wanted possession. Construction commenced in 1998 and the move to North road was made in late December 1999.

19 January 2000

The new Centre opened its doors.

5 May 2000

Blairlogie Centre officially opened by Matt Viney MP

19 November 2012

Carolyn Carr becomes a new Chief Executive Officer.

23 November 2012

Rod Puls retired as a Blairlogie Chief Executive Officer after 18 years of service.