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Sumner house

Page history last edited by Social Policy Library 4 months, 1 week ago

Timeline - home Places - home | Services - home




Concerned about the lack of suitable accommodation for single or widowed pensioners in the Fitzroy area, the BSL felt that the need for Hostel type accommodation was urgent.  The Housing Commission flats being built in Brunswick Street were for families and not replacing any of the single accommodation that was demolished to make way for them.  The BSL began considering the possibility of building a Hostel for pensioners at the rear of the Headquarters building, in conjunction with a planned extension and redevelopment of the Youth & Children’s Centre. (This resulted in the building of Sumner House Hostel.) (BSL may build Hostel for Aged The Brotherhood News June 1969 (No.185) p.3.  See also Brotherhood Action March 1977 (No.215) for the opening of Sumner House Hostel). 



The BSL purchased two properties in Fitzroy in an attempt to stop people being forced out of inner areas.  One was a small block of 10 flats on the corner of Fitzroy and Palmer Streets, close to the Coolibah.  Built for commercial purposes about 1968 it provided excellent accommodation for elderly people living on the pension and was eligible for the $2 for $1 subsidy under the Aged Persons Homes Act.  This was the first stage of a planned development in the inner suburbs, to include a 40-bed hostel adjoining these flats (later to be known as Sumner House) and a similar project on land recently acquired in Gold Street, Clifton Hill (later known as Sambell Lodge), overlooking the Darling Gardens (BSL Annual Report, 1972 - 73).



Completion of the rebuilding of the Coolibah Centre, designed to incorporate special facilities and space for equipment of cope with the new flats and the proposed hostel (later named Sumner House) (BSL Annual Report 1973/4).



The first residents (of a total of forty) began moving into Sumner House, the Brotherhood’s new hostel for frail aged in Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy in early 1977. Eight units, similar to motel accommodation, had their own toilets and showers for very frail residents; the other thirty-two were in pairs, sharing facilities. (Brotherhood Action, March 1977) 



Sumner House hostel in Fitzroy for the frail aged - named after Miss Jessica Sumner, a Brotherhood Welfare Officer for the Aged for 23 years before retiring in 1972 - was opened on 21 March by the Mayor of Fitzroy.  This was largely funded by the Australian Government, with grants from the Voluntary Helpers Shop and the Ian Currie Trust (BSL Annual Report 1976 p.9; BSL Annual Report 1977 p.7; and BSL Annual Report 1977-1978 p.10). 



The first recipient of support from the G.T. Sambell Memorial Trust for work experience in the Brotherhood’s services completed his year in October.  Richard Marsh came out from England after completing theology at Oxford University and during his time with the BSL worked with the community educator in Poverty Education, in the Material Aid Service of the Sharing Centre, spent several weeks at St Mark’s Community Centre, and had two experiences of aged care at Sambell Lodge and Sumner House (Brotherhood Action, October 1983).


In late 1983 the two inner-city Brotherhood hostels – Sumner House (Fitzroy) and Sambell Lodge in Clifton Hill, began preparing their own meals for residents.  Before this, meals were prepared at the BSL’s Coolibah Day Centre kitchen and then delivered to the hostels.  As a result of this change, all residents could take an active part in deciding and planning the menus of their ‘home style’ meals. This was a reflection of the BSL’s philosophy that older people should be encouraged to be as involved and active as possible (Brotherhood Action, October 1984).



The Voluntary Helpers’ Shop in Camberwell, which had supported the five major denominations with funds for building accommodation for the aged over its thirty-two years, closed through lack of volunteers.  The Brotherhood had received $658,000 over the years for projects including Sumner House, Sambell LodgeKeble Court and the Group Housing Project (Brotherhood Action, December 1995).



Two long-standing staff members, Leonie Barr (Manager of Sumner House) and Mary D’Aprano (Coordinator of the Material Aid Centre in Brunswick Street) were recognised in the Anzac Awards for their contributions to the community (Brotherhood Action June 1989).



A stained glass window was commissioned for the Chapel at Carrum Downs, depicting the martyrdom of Saint Laurence.  This was designed by Alan Sumner, who although shared the same surname, was not related to Jessica Sumner (formerly Welfare Worker at the Coolibah Centre) after whom Sumner House (Fitzroy) is named.


Restructure of Aged Services in Fitzroy at Sumner House Hostel & Millott House Rooming House (March).



The Brotherhood’s annual fairs held by the residents of St Laurence Park at Lara, the G K Tucker Settlement at Carrum Downs and Millott House & Sumner House in Fitzroy, raised approximately $18,000.  This was the first fair held by Millott House & Sumner House, run with the help of staff and volunteers.  About 5,000 people attended the fairs (Brotherhood Action, Summer 1992).


36 frail older residents from the G K Tucker Settlement, St Laurence Park, the Coolibah Day Centre, Sumner House and Sambell Lodge enjoyed a 4-day break at Swan Hill.  The first combined effort involving each of the regions, the trip was assisted by a grant from Perpetual Trustees (Brotherhood Action, Autumn 1992).



Coolibah Catering Group, in conjunction with the BSL’s Employment Action Centre, commenced a hospitality traineeship program for young people in the Coolibah kitchen (March) with an internal catering function until June.  The catering service had been restructured and extended to include the provision of meals to nearby Sumner House.



Sumner House, Fitzroy, underwent major renovations to improve safety and access for residents.  (Annual Report, 1994).



Aged Care Master Plan was drawn up by Bill Williams Architects for presentation to Executive Council.  Properties included in the exercise were Broughton Nursing Home, Sambell Lodge, Sumner House, Millott House, flats in Keble Court, Moor and Palmer Streets, 22 bedsits at the G K Tucker Settlement and the reorganisation of the Head Office site (BSL Annual Report 1997).



Proposed Capital Appeal to focus on Sumner House and Millott Rooming House.



The Building Better Lives Appeal, the BSL’s first capital appeal, was launched in October to raise funds for the redevelopment of Sumner House and Millott House.  The appeal raised $5.7 million, sufficient to cover not only the cost of the necessary upgrade but to also fund innovative programs for children, families and people without work (Annual Report 1999).


Residents of Sumner House relocated to Annesley Hostel, Balwyn while redevelopment of Sumner House and Millott House took place. 



Redevelopment of Sumner House & Millott House completed, with low care provision for 40 residents and independent living for residents. 



The Personal Care Attendant training program for the BSL’s aged care area trained eight tenants from the Fitzroy and Collingwood housing estates as personal care attendants at Sumner House and Sambell Lodge. This project came about as a result of falling numbers of personal care attendants and the need to engage residents of the estates with their community.  The project ran for 12 weeks funded by the Department for Victorian Communities and the DHS. The outcomes of the project were that eight tenants began the course, seven completed and have secured ongoing employment post the training. St Vincent’s hospital is very interested in exploring a similar type program.  (August_IMcH)


Awards were given for the Being Alive  program at Sumner House aged care facility, Fitzroy, and the Banksia Host-Home Respite Scheme.



Sumner House passed all 44 requirements & given 3-year accreditation (October 28-29)



For up-to-date information about Sumner house, please visit the Brotherhood website.

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