From humble beginnings, Bentley Park has grown to become one of the largest facilities of its kind for older Western Australians. It offers a full range of care, from low to high, allowing residents to transition if required without relocating.
The following chronological history details the major milestones in the life of Bentley Park.
The sixties: the dream becomes reality
1960 - A bushfire in a pine plantation in Bentley becomes the catalyst for Dr Richard Cleaver, the then MHR for Swan, to realise his long-held dream. Dr Cleaver sees the newly-cleared land as the ideal venue to build housing for people in their retirement and with the help of other interested people, formulates a plan which results in the formation of Swan Cottage Homes.
1961 – The first residents move into their new homes. The inaugural Board of Management convenes for the first board meeting on October 31st to commence planning the first seven “aged persons” units to be constructed.
1966 - The original village is declared complete
1967 - A generous benefactor offers a large block of land in Midland to the organisation in return for care. As a result, a new smaller satellite community is created a short distance away from the main Bentley campus.
1969 - The 44-room Ningana Nursing Home is founded on the main Bentley campus to provide on-site residential aged care for the benefit of the community.
The seventies: expansion
1972 – Richard Cleaver Lodge officially opens on the Bentley campus. 55 newly-built units offer multi-storey apartment style living as an additional housing choice for new residents.
1975 – A parcel of land becomes available in the nearby suburb of Carlisle from which an additional satellite community emerges. The sharply sloping rooflines of the resulting 48 independent living units, clustered around attractive garden courtyards, characterise the development of the Carlisle community as a new direction for the organisation and accurately represent the architectural style of the era. The Social Centre, the hub of resident activities and numerous special events, encourages the development of a close-knit community, while the close proximity to the main Bentley campus gives access to a wide range of social and recreational opportunities and links residents from both communities.
1976 - The organisation’s main administration office moves from its original premises in Graham Crescent to a new building in Pine Avenue on the main Bentley campus.
In the same year, the Waminda Hostel opens, offering residents the option of assisted daily living accommodation in comfortable self-contained apartments. This initiative achieves the objective of providing a continuum of care on the one site - a unique concept for this time and one that is soon emulated around the country by other aged care providers.
The eighties: years of celebration
1980’s - Warner’s Corner, adjacent to the Waminda Hostel, becomes the property maintenance depot to meet the increasing demand for on-site servicing and repairs to buildings, grounds and the increasing number of residents.
Additional land is acquired to expand the capacity of the Nursing Home accommodation on the Bentley campus.
Construction of the Tandara Nursing Home, adjacent to Ningana, increases the number of available high-care rooms to more than 140. Incorporated in the design and layout of this purpose-built facility are dedicated social and recreational areas that encourage a holistic approach to caring for the frail aged.
The increasing trend towards resident-funded dwellings creates an opportunity to offer increased diversity in accommodation choices. As the townhouse lifestyle proves popular for incoming retirees, Mavis Cleaver Court is constructed, offering a further 76 modern and spacious apartments.
1985 - The Silver Anniversary of the founding of Swan Cottage Homes is celebrated with the commissioning of new infrastructure projects including extensions to the Waminda Hostel and the official opening of the JP Stratton Activities Centre, the Cultural Centre, the Museum, the Ranyard Activities Centre and the Guy Murray Memorial Bowling Green.
1989 – A new multi-purpose building on the Bentley campus is completed. It includes a large auditorium on the ground floor which is used for concerts, fetes, meetings and lectures.
Administration is re-located to the first floor of the new building while additional facilities expand the Social Club to include an Art Studio, Snooker Room, Computer Room and Coffee Lounge.
The nineties: additional growth
1997 – Construction of the Stan Nowak Villas, comprising four quality units of two and three bedrooms, is completed in nearby St James – and a further satellite development is created.
The nineties sees the organisation embark on a process of preparation and planning in order to define and meet the challenges that lay ahead in relation to the predicted growth of the ageing population in the new millennium.
The new millennium: planning for the future
2003/04 – At the commencement of the new millennium, the organisation is re-branded under the SwanCare Group name. This facilitates the development of a strong corporate and community identity and defines a dynamic presence for SwanCare Group as a recognised leader in the retirement living and aged care sector.
The Bentley campus is re-named ‘Bentley Park’ in recognition of the organisation’s link with the history of the site. The name Bentley Park is associated with the growth of the Swan River Colony and was in fact the original name for the suburb we now simply refer to as Bentley. In the 21st Century, over 1,000 residents now call the Bentley Park campus ‘home’.
Stage 1 of the 6-stage masterplan redevelopment commences on a small parcel of vacant land within Bentley Park.
2004 – The Midland site is sold and residents from the Stan Nowak Villas in St James are relocated to Bentley Park after the sale of the St James property that same year.
In line with the overall redevelopment strategy and in anticipation of the exciting period of growth ahead, SwanCare Group commences a process to rationalise its smaller property holdings in the metropolitan area.
2005 - The construction of Stage 1, incorporating 58 new villa and apartment homes, is completed. New residents settle in to these new homes within weeks of their completion.
Stage 2, consisting of 54 new villas on the south eastern corner of Bentley Park, commences. By the end of 2005, a total of more than 100 new ‘Intelligent’ homes have been constructed at Bentley Park as part of the overall masterplan redevelopment.
2006 - 2007 – At the end of 2005, residents from the Carlisle campus gradually begin relocating to homes at Bentley Park in readiness for the sale of the Carlisle campus. All Carlisle residents are settled in their new homes by April 2007 and quickly become active members of the Bentley Park community.
New residents commence moving in to the newly-constructed villas built in stage 2 of the redevelopment. The 27 new luxury apartments, known as the Plantation Apartments, are completed in August 2007.
As subsequent stages of the masterplan redevelopment are implemented, more of the original cottages at Bentley Park will be making way for the next generation of homes.
2007 - 2009 - Construction of the 82 bed Kingia Care Facility commences as the third stage of the Bentley Park masterplan redevelopment. It opens in March 2009. Kingia Care Facility represents a significant change in emphasis in the way care services are delivered by SwanCare Group and challenges the aged care sector to embrace a more innovative approach to residential care service delivery. Residents in care have the choice of Tandara Care Facility as a trusted and quieter care experience, or Kingia, a care facility that provides a bright and contemporary environment for residents and their families.
2009 – SwanCare Group commences construction of Australind Rise, a new retirement community in the south west coastal locality of Australind. It’s a project 2 years in the planning and a key part of the organisation’s expansion plans. On completion in 2013, Australind Rise will be a community of 107 retirement living homes and a fully equipped community centre. It will be a valuable addition to an area with a growing retirement demographic and an increasing demand for aged care services and accommodation.
New service initiatives are introduced in a number of business areas including Hospitality and Information Technology. Venue hire of the function areas in Kingia, which include first class facilities with full catering services for corporate and social events, commences as an additional income stream for SwanCare Group, a not-for-profit charitable organisation. New information management systems improve the efficiency of residents’ records management and improve the resident/carer contact ratio.
2010 – The 50th anniversary of the foundation of SwanCare Group, formerly Swan Cottage Homes, is celebrated.
The redevelopment of Bentley Park progresses to Stage 4 with the commencement of construction of the ‘New Villas’. The clean modern designs of these new homes articulate the changing requirements and expectations in retirement living. Each home is adaptive to changing needs and uses technology to enhance safety and lifestyle.
In addition to the massive infrastructure redevelopment of Bentley Park and the establishment of two new communities at Carlisle and Australind, the future growth plans for SwanCare Group include expansion into other metropolitan and regional areas to meet the forecast growth and demand for service provision to future generations of older Western Australians living in rapidly developing regions.
2011-2012 - Construction work continues across all sites with new residents moving in to all villages. Planning begins for the next stage of redevelopment at Bentley Park. Current residents are involved in the planning stage, providing valuable input into this process.
SwanCare Group Community Care has been awarded 20 Community Care Packages which will come in to operation in the second half of 2012. Care will be provided to appropriate assessed village residents as well as clients within the larger community.