Timeline of BUSHkids' first 80 years
Click on the image above to open a larger version in a new window.
Click here to view the timeline as a 6-page online document.
Click here to download the full-size, 83cm wide, PDF (8MB file).
Click here to view the 2015 Annual Report
Click here to view the 2016 Annual Report
Click here to view annual reports back to 2006
BUSHkids history book
Officially launched on 6 December 2016 by our Patron, Queensland's Governor, the honourable Paul de Jersey AC, you can find out more about this magnificent book (three years in the making) and order your copies by clicking here
Our story so far...
1935 was a time when the dire health needs of children living in Outback communities were evident and they required a credible, practical and sustained response from the whole community. The Governor of Queensland, Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, was greatly concerned for their welfare and decided to act. He reasoned that future generations would suffer more complex and pressing medical conditions unless something was done immediately – ‘intervention’ and ‘prevention’ were his watchwords.
What should or could be done? What was possible within the resources available?
It seemed a holiday home at the beach for access to city medical/surgical services and time for recuperation would do the job - in other words a project similar to that which had been established in New South Wales by the Reverend Stanley Drummond through his Far West Scheme.
Who could lead the project?
The members of TOC H had the resources and the personnel, and had already tried a holiday program for a group of children in Torquay. All was in place; it merely needed a committed group to pull resources and needs together. That happened, at the Governor’s urging, at a meeting convened by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane in the City Hall on the night of Wednesday 6th December 1935 – 80 years ago. The first Home was opened in Scarborough on the Redcliffe peninsula a year later, on 7th November 1936..
In the following years, Homes at Emu Park (1937) and Torquay (1938) were established. At the end of the Second World War, the former army base at Rowes Bay (Townsville) was purchased by the local Rotary Club and gifted to the organisation as a place the children of the North and North West could use as a Home. The framework was now in place (the Emu Park Home was replaced by a purpose-built facility at Yeppoon in 1958). Eventually, the Homes were registered as hospitals and greatly supported by various Departments of Health. The enduring support of the volunteer Red Cross Aids ladies enabled the children to travel to and from the Homes.
Services continued through the following years despite the 1951 polio epidemic and many other medical and social difficulties that arose to challenge "Bushies".
Need for change
With exhaustive research clearly demonstrating the changing health needs of Queensland children from the late 1980s, the organisation's Council began the establishment of family support services in some smaller rural communities such as Clermont, Miles, Inglewood and St George. Bushies also started restructuring services within the Homes from dormitory to family, or domestic settings, employing ‘House Parents’ to care for the children during their admissions. Speech Pathology services had already been established, and were closely followed by Psychology and Occupational Therapy programs.
The shift in focus from medical /surgical attention to Allied Health services had begun. This development was also impacted by changing Queensland Health systems and priorities. In 1994, at a community meeting in Brisbane, following a consultation with families and service providers in the rural areas, the decision was taken to totally change the way services were delivered. Child and Family Therapy Centres, better suited to working with the emerging developmental and behavioural needs of children, would replace the coastal Homes. Services would be offered by a multi-professional team and the focus would be on ‘early intervention’.
The first of these Centres was opened in 1995 in Mount Isa, thereby offering services to a group of children who would formerly have used the Townsville Home. Other community-based Centres followed, by and large servicing the inland catchment areas of the coastal Homes they were replacing.
Redcliffe closed its children’s residential programs in 1998 and relocated its family programs to Hays Inlet at Clontarf. These programs functioned on that site until 2005 when all residential programs ceased. This completed the re-arrangement of services according to the framework developed as part of the strategic development of services set out in 1988 and executed from 1994. With this closure, resources were put into two new rural Centres - Warwick and Bundaberg.
Mount Isa replaced the Rowes Bay (Townsville) Home when it was the first to close in the final months of 1994. This Child and Family Therapy Centre began in 1995 working from the former Mount Isa Family Home that the organistion owned in the city. With the purchase of land on the corner of Trainor and Marian Streets, a new brick Centre was built and the service now had a permanent home on the main road into the city. Services continue from that location today. Click here to find out about the Mount Isa Centre of today.
Emerald (along with the service at Longreach which operated out of the School of Distance Education) was established when the Yeppoon Home was closed in 1995. The Longreach service closed in 2002 when CYMHS and RFDS established therapeutic services within the town. Emerald has continued offering Allied Health services across the years and in 2001 moved into its present site in former childcare premises in Clermont Street. Click here to find out about the Emerald Centre of today.
Dalby - The services for disabled children ceased at the Torquay (Hervey Bay) Home in 1997 when all the clients had been relocated in response to changes in government policy. With the resources from the sale of that Home, Dalby Centre was established and opened its doors in 2000 with the services of a psychologist. The full team was established in the following years and they offered services to the surrounding communities of Miles, Chinchilla and Tara. Click here to find out about the Dalby Centre of today.
Inglewood was established in 1990. It is the one remaining fully functioning service from the four (Inglewood, Miles, Clermont and Warwick) which began at the end of the 1980s. These services were to offer support to families within their local setting. General health and parenting support programs are offered still from BUSHkids which operates from the Community Health Centre. Click here to find out about the Inglewood services of today.
Warwick began operations with a psychologist and a speech pathologist in 2006. The following year a full team began the work of building a multi-disciplinary service to children of the town with outreach services to Inglewood, and Stanthorpe. In September 2015, services were relocated to a larger property which was substantially refurbished to allow for an expansion of community services. Click here to find out about the Warwick Centre of today.
Bundaberg began operations in 2006 when a psychologist began limited services to the area. The new Centre was officially opened by the Governor of Queensland, Ms Quentin Bryce, AO in 2007. A full therapy team is now in place. Click here to find out about the Bundaberg Centre of today.
From 2015, additional Commonwealth Government funding has enabled BUSHkids to extend its family early intervention services in regional Queensland as 'satellite' operations from a number of existing Centres. Stanthorpe and the Southern Border region will have dedicated staff, supported by Warwick and Inglewood. Dalby Centre will likewise support new outreach in Kingaroy and Nanango, and the districts around Agnes Water and Miriam Vale will be underscored by Bundaberg.