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On 12 July 2024, President Rosie Fitzgerald and Secretary Andrea Ferris met with Michael Creen, Interim Director Community & Preventative Health from Queensland Health at the Gympie Hospital.

Mr Creen gave an overview of some of the extension programs his department offers that service the Kilkivan and district towns.

These included: Community Connect that links patients with services; Nurse Navigator, which is a consulting service; and Transitional Care, which helps patients transition from hospital to home.

There are 8-10 beds available at Glenbrook Aged Care in Nambour for people needed this service or allied health and nursing care offered at home for up to 18 weeks.

A general discussion was had about the success of the Kilkivan Care model of home care package delivery and the challenges around aged care assessments and the waiting period between assessment and home care package delivery.

Mr Creen showed an enthusiastic interest in the Rise & Shine project and promised to arrange some presenters for the Senior Social Hub meetings, such as dietician advice and mental health topics.

He also agreed to provide KDCCA with some data to aid our advocacy, such as transition care patient numbers and aged care assessment statistics in the local area.

Back Row from left: Karly O'Neill (GRC), Rosie Fitzgerald (KDCCA), Alex Stengyl (GRC), Andree Stark (GRC). Front Row from left: Tony Perkins (SCUni) & Gordana Dermody (SCUni).
Back Row from left: Karly O’Neill (GRC), Rosie Fitzgerald (KDCCA), Alex Stengyl (GRC), Andree Stark (GRC). Front Row from left: Tony Perkins (SCUni) & Gordana Dermody (SCUni).

The KDCCA President Rosie Fitzgerald and Secretary Andrea Ferris met with representatives from Gympie Regional Council and the University of the Sunshine Coast at Gympie on 11 July 2024.

The overall objective of the meeting was to bring council up-to-date with the Association’s proposed grant funding application through the Federal Government’s Regional Precincts and Partnerships Program (RPPP).

Rosie spent some time explaining the Association’s achievements and ambitions to new Director of Community Sustainability Alex Stengyl.

The University’s Gordana Dermody explained how the proposed precinct at Kilkivan could be a sustainable model for health care services, a nursing practitioner model and assist student’s rural health care experience.

She explained that the RPPP grant would enable proper precinct planning, including a share home for clients and students. How it would be an intergenerational model, and provide a business plan for a nurse practitioner-technology care model that can be studied longitudinally and how it could be a blueprint to be replicated in other rural communities and a white paper for council’s strategic planning.

Council admitted it’s reticence to support the Association’s RPPP grant because it has or is about to submit a bid for the same funding for a Gympie civic centre precinct project.

There was some discussion about how the two projects were distinctly different and the timing of the applications may not be concurrent. (It should be noted here that the guidelines for the RPPP grant do not preclude multiple applications being submitted from the same region or from the same applicant.)

The outcomes of the meeting were:

  • KDCCA and the University to provide council with the scope of the precinct project at Kilkivan for it to be presented to council’s executive leadership team.
  • The scope is to provide an indication as to what support from council is expected at the application stage.
  • KDCCA to research when the next round of RPPP applications will be reviewed by the Federal Government.
  • Gympie Regional Council to reignite the ageing-in-place working group with the objective to review the actions of the 2022 report.
  • Director Community Sustainability to research the redevelopment planning requirements for the former Catholic Church at Kilkivan.

We are excited to announce that Kilkivan will be put on the national nursing map next month at the Australian College of Nursing’s annual signature event, the National Nursing Forum.
On behalf of the abstract’s  co-authors Rosie Fitzgerald, Dr John Rosenberg and Dr Daniel Wadsworth and the Kilkivan community, Dr Gordana Dermody, Academic Lead of the Healthy Ageing Hub Gympie and Associate Lecturer and Community Nurse Suzanne Volejnikova-Wenger from the University of the Sunshine Coast will present ‘The little town that could – Kilkivan’s fight for ageing-in-place’ to an audience of nurses and relevant stakeholders from all over Australia at the Cairns Convention Centre.
Not only will this event highlight Kilkivan’s continuing efforts for a rural community ageing-in-place solution, but it will also raise awareness of the unique challenges rural communities face regarding healthy ageing.
Additionally, it offers the opportunity to forge relationships with key policy and decision makers, such as Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, Professor Alison McMillan, Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Adjunct Professor Shelley Nowlan, Deputy National Rural Health Commissioner and many more. Gordana and Suzanne will present a short report and their insights from the Forum with the Kilkivan community following the event.
We look forward to seeing Kilkivan become a catalyst for nurses and stakeholders to rethink healthy ageing in rural communities.

A recent report shows compelling evidence of the social and financial value of investment in local place-based aged care support.

Kilkivan & District Community Care Association President Rosie Fitzgerald said the results were a welcome boost to the community’s commitment.

The Association, which delivers local aged care home package support and services for the Kilkivan, Goomeri, Tansey and Woolooga townships of the western Gympie local government area, commissioned the report to strengthen its bid for recognition of its innovative Rise & Shine project.

‘We realise that a “good idea” and community support aren’t enough to put a project front and centre on the political agenda to attract partnerships and funding,’ Ms Fitzgerald said.

‘However, hard evidence that our efforts over five years show a social return on investment of
$2.97 million will be hard to ignore.’

The report, prepared by consultant Mabel Wood McLeod, estimates a $17.27 return in tangible and intangible benefits for every dollar invested.

Ms Fitzgerald says the results are justification of the community’s vision for a wholistic approach to aged care, which incorporates four pillars: local home care package delivery, community transport, communication and social interaction, and housing choice. However, she believes they also present a worrying portent for the future.

‘What’s being achieved in this district is literally due to the efforts of fewer than a handful of volunteers,’ she explained.

‘Put bluntly, that’s nearly $3 million worth of meaningful care for the most vulnerable people in our community being managed by an unreliable and unsustainable management structure.

‘Every day all around this nation, strapped volunteer-led organisations are quietly delivering millions of dollars of value to the economy and providing local services that largely go unacknowledged and unsupported.

‘I have to ask if the government is satisfied that this can be held up as a best practice model for our rural and regional towns’ Ms Fitzgerald said.

The Wood McLeod report also estimates that from an initial investment of $6.53 million, the Associations innovative place-based housing project proposal could expect a positive net present value of $2.5 million and an internal rate of return of 11.36%.

The Rise & Shine housing project proposed for council-owned land in Kilkivan would see affordable, mixed income living choices for residents to age-in-place, a small, supervised share house, and a community hub enterprise in the former Catholic church on adjacent land recently purchased by the Association.

‘These figures represent a positive step forward in our advocacy to all levels of government to see that this proposition addresses every current policy objective for housing and ageing-in-place and to genuinely get behind a community-led, solution with proven merit,’ Ms Fitzgerald concluded.

The full social return on investment and financial project evaluation report for the Kilkivan Rise & Shine ageing-in-place project can be found here.

The Mable Community Grant application by KDCCA was unsuccessful. In an email from the Mable Team, the company said, ‘ We received over 180 applications this year, making selection competitive. After an extensive review by our selection committee, your application was unsuccessful this time.’

The result  is a serious blow to the Associations bid to raise funds to complete a feasibility study and business case to satisfy Gympie Regional Council’s requirements for consideration of the Rise & Shine accommodation proposal on council-owned land in Kilkivan.

The latest estimate for a study and preliminary masterplan, crucial to raise partnership interest in the proposal, is $29K. While a successful grant from Gympie Regional Council of $5000 is earmarked for the study, further grant funds will need to be forthcoming for the work to be completed.

The small community of Kilkivan in south-east Queensland is celebrating a bittersweet victory this week as the Kilkivan and District Community Care Association takes custody of the 100-year-old former Catholic Church of St Kevin.

Association President Rosie Fitzgerald said the settlement day was ‘auspicious’, but that any celebration is clouded by uncertainty, frustration, and a tinge of regret.

The imposing old timber building, named for Kilkivan’s ancestral Scottish saint, stands at number one Church Street looking over the once prosperous timber, dairy and railway town. St Kevin’s hosted its final mass in October 2023 where a large congregation was testament to what it represented to so many past and present residents.

The church is surrounded by land owned by Gympie Regional Council and is tentatively ear-marked for ‘ageing in place’. For four years, the Association has passionately advocated for the innovative Rise and Shine project that will provide accessible rental homes and a share house for seniors on the land.

‘We strongly felt the iconic church property could be perfect for a community centre and maybe an enterprise such as an art gallery or coffee shop; lots of options that would fit perfectly with our vision,’ Ms Fitzgerald explained.

The Association negotiated the purchase and immediately commenced a rigorous fundraising drive to pay for it. But, despite monthly full-house bingo nights and some generous benefactors donating to a GoFundMe campaign, the target remains 75 percent short of being met. Some believe the campaign’s slow start is due to a sharp collective memory backed by historical and anecdotal evidence that St Kevin’s was built and furnished from a century of community donations.

Finding financial support to buy the church is not the only source of concern and frustration for Kilkivan’s community.

‘Our integrated Rise and Shine project is addressing huge gaps in services and infrastructure that mean local people have had to leave their homes and community prematurely,’ Ms Fitzgerald explained.

‘It’s astonishing that, in a political and economic climate loaded with policy and rhetoric about supporting the ageing population and providing appropriate place-based housing that is within reach of people on all income levels that our innovative concept is not attracting funding and partnerships.’

The Association, in its short tenure, has managed to set up Kilkivan Care, which coordinates home care packages using local support workers to more than 30 clients in Kilkivan, Tansey, Woolooga and Goomeri. It has also raised funds to buy a bus for community transport, publishes a local newsletter, and conducts a very successful senior’s social hub program.

‘Our members and the general community are happy and relieved St Kevin’s won’t be demolished or moved away, and we will be marking the settlement day with a small celebration,’ Ms Fitzgerald said.

‘We are humbled and grateful for the generous donations to date and the sentiment of goodwill around the project keeps our spirits buoyant.

‘Holding the keys to St Kevin’s is a tentative step towards a vision that I know is shared by many small rural communities throughout the country—to keep our loved ones close, safe and content.’

KDCCA is pleased to announce it has been successful in obtaining a $5000 grant from the Gympie Regional Council’s Community Grants Program 2023/2024 – Competitive Round 2.

The grant is intended as a contribution towards the cost of stage one of a feasibility study for the proposed Rise and Shine residential development.

Back in June 2022, council published a final report of the Investigation of Ageing in Place Services and Infrastructure. Action 10 of that report was to ‘Explore opportunities for a small scale, affordable, place appropriate accommodation centre in the western district of Gympie region/Kilkivan when a confirmed business case and feasibility study is submitted to council outlining the upfront capital costs, evidenced based operating model and funding plan.’

KDCCA has since sought a quote for this work, which is appropriate to be approached in stages.

The initial quote for stage one, an options analysis, was in the vicinity of $13,000.

This $5000 grant will be put towards this project if further grant funding can be obtained to match the shortfall. An application for grant funding from Mable Community Grants has been lodged and is expected to be finalised in June 2024.



Professor Tony Perkins and Dr Gordana Dermody from the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) met with the KDCCA management team and gave a presentation to representatives of the senior’s community at the Kilkivan council office.

The session, attended by 17 people from Kilkivan, Goomeri and Woolooga, began with an introduction to KDCCA by President Rosie Fitzgerald.

Rosie gave a ‘potted history’ of the association and its achievements against its four pillars: the KilkiVan community transport, aged care services partnership with Trilogy and Mable, the community hub project and purchase of the catholic church, and the ageing-in-place accommodation development initiative.

Dr Dermody, a senior lecturer of nursing and associated with the university’s Health Ageing Hub, spoke about how impressed she is with this community’s participation, and how it should be proud of the work that’s been done and how well we support community leaders.

She explained that USC is exploring how it can bring strength to community projects, such as the Rise & Shine initiative.

Dr Dermody said that the USC looks at ‘out of the box’ and ‘new models’ of collaboration for small rural towns, particularly in research that is beneficial for mental health, social connectivity. and general health care.

She reiterated that listening to local stories is important to help academics understand the ‘rural mindset’ and ‘feel the hearts of the people’.

Her message centred around hope; that she understood that progress may seem slow, but, she said, the ‘wheels are turning’ and, she believed, the Rise & Shine vision will come to fruition.

Professor Tony Perkins, the Foundation Dean of Health at USC also offered genuine congratulations to KDCCA and the community for its efforts to date.

He acknowledged that the university’s primary focus is teaching healthcare professionals and seeking outreach opportunities.

The USC School of Health has 6500 placements each year and he believes that integrated learning opportunities provide a rich learning environment.

He also spoke about the possibility of university-run pop-up clinics with School of Health students in rural areas.

The USC also conducts research with a focus on aged care: how to do it better; proactive healthy ageing; ageing in the community; and technology to assist, such as in-home monitoring. It looks at models of care for safe, supportive, independent living.

Professor Perkins reiterated that the university is not in the business of delivering infrastructure projects but may be able to leverage projects in various ways, such as access to grant funding and professional advice.

The participants were given the chance to ask questions of Professor Perkins and Dr Dermody. The discussion centred mostly around the lack of medical and allied health services in rural areas.

After the session, the university guests were treated to a short trip in the KilkiVan to visit the Church Street land, have a tour of the St Kevin’s church building, and enjoy lunch at the Kilkivan Hotel.

Professor Tony Perkins and Dr Gordana Dermondy at the Church Street site.
Participants in the visit by University of the Sunshine Coast’s Professor Tony Perkins & Dr Gordana Dermody


THANK YOU to Kilkivan Masonic Lodge members who on 17/02/2023 injected significant funds and a whole lot of encouragement into three local groups. Kilkivan Bowls Club received $7,000 for a coffee machine & crockery; Kilkivan State School’s Cattle Club received $10,000 for their Bovine Project; and the Kilkivan & District Community Care was presented with a cheque of $30,000!

Rosie & Lynda were overwhelmed to have this very substantial boost to the Rise & Shine Project’s accommodation plan and on behalf of all the volunteers, members, contractors & all the residents in our target area of Kilkivan-Goomeri-Tansey-Woolooga involved in our ambitious concept, wish to convey our heartfelt gratitude. This is a game-changer!

In a further significant injection of funds locally, Hand Heart Pocket, the charity of Freemasons Queensland, has matched the early 2023 donation of $30K by the Kilkivan Masonic Lodge to KDCCA.

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Many senior rural residents like her face the prospect of leaving their friends behind and moving to a larger town to an aged care facility.

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A $10K donation by Sullivan Livestock, Gympie to the $10K in 10 weeks campaign being rolled out by Kilkivan & District Community Care Association has been called a ‘huge boost’ …

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What do Menopause the Musical, the Moffatdale Wine Trail, and Hervey Bay Whale Watching have in common? Kilkivan seniors have tried them all by travelling on the KilkiVAN.

Access to transport is key to health and wellbeing in rural communities. Reflecting a common story, until 2021 residents without a car or licence in Kilkivan, a small rural town in Queensland with a population of ~750, had to rely on friends or neighbours for transport even locally, let alone trips to Noosa (1.5 hours) or Brisbane (2.5 hours). Despite being situated on the busy Wide Bay Highway, no transport services were available, except for sporadic medical appointment trips booked well in advance with a community centre service from another town.

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What a great visit from Mable on 7th February! Brad is currently working with locals of all ages to get support workers from our community registered on the Mable platform. This will mean Aged Care package holders & NDIS recipients can choose from a pool of local residents to get the assistance they need. While in town Brad helped locals Chris, Shanayde and Dylan get started on their Mable support workers journey.

Rosie, Sally & Lynda from Kilkivan & District Community Care visited Bell today to learn from Lesley Bryce of Bell Cares. Brad & Linda from Mable were also there to share insights. The KDCCAI team are very grateful to have such amazing support to help us continue to explore ways we can get local support for our elders and those who have disabilities.

Thank you to everyone who attended the launch of the Kilkivan Care – Trilogy – Mable initiative for better local in-home care at Kilkivan Bowls Club on May 5. With the founders of both Trilogy (James) & Mable (Peter) present, beautiful live music from Carmen & her strings team from the Cooloola Community Orchestra, catering from the Bowls Club team, and a supportive crowd from across a wide area, no wonder there was a lovely atmosphere! K&DCCAI Treasurer Lynda Sempf was MC for the event and highlighted the fact that there were 5 locals over 90 years of age attending the launch!

Excellent videography of the event was captured by Douglas Media’s Cameron Douglas, who brought his wife Georgie & sons Amos & Reuben, along to Kilkivan.

Thank you to everyone who attended the launch of the Kilkivan Care – Trilogy – Mable initiative for better local in-home care at Kilkivan Bowls Club on May 5. With the founders of both Trilogy (James) & Mable (Peter) present, beautiful live music from Carmen & her strings team from the Cooloola Community Orchestra, catering from the Bowls Club team, and a supportive crowd from across a wide area, no wonder there was a lovely atmosphere! K&DCCAI Treasurer Lynda Sempf was MC for the event and highlighted the fact that there were 5 locals over 90 years of age attending the launch!

Excellent videography of the event was captured by Douglas Media’s Cameron Douglas, who brought his wife Georgie & sons Amos & Reuben, along to Kilkivan.

About 100 senior rural residents of the Gympie region attended the public launch of a bold collaboration between the Kilkivan community and two innovative companies recently, aimed at fixing the heartbreaking situation that has resulted in elderly residents being forced to leave their communities to go in aged care.

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While you’re planting, mustering, weaning or harvesting – where you grow old might seem like a thing far off in the distance that you don’t have to think about.

But whether you like it or not, if you’re lucky, you will get old.

So will you be able to do that on the farm or in the community you’ve spent your life – and will those parties vying for your vote help you do that?

Go the ABC page and audio file

Kilkivan is getting ready to welcome home-grown media legend Lisa Millar when she returns next month …

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On 8.12.2022, K&DCCAI’s President Rosie spoke at a symposium on Healthy Ageing and Community Care at the Gympie Campus of the Uni of the Sunshine Coast.

Rosie was asked to outline the Rise & Shine project and explain what K&DCCAI have achieved and what challenges we face.

The other speakers were all academics – Rosie was able to provide the community, real world perspective.

We’ll done Rosie on continuing to advocate for our community.

Kilkivan & District Community Care Assn Inc is delighted to announce that we have been successful applicants for a $10,000 grant from the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR). Our application by Secretary Sally Evans was entitled “Expanding the Home of the KIlkiVAN” and is for various office equipment purchases. The donor funding is made available through the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation. This is wonderful support of our objectives, especially as we are ready to expand our in-home care package coordination.


The Memory Lounge event near Kilkivan provided a wonderful opportunity for two people from different backgrounds and age groups to connect …

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An independent study of rural ageing for residents of the Kilkivan area has highlighted the importance to wellbeing of being able to age in existing communities …

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The members of Kilkivan & District Community Care Association are bewildered as to why Council continues to dodge the central request here: agree that in principle, with conditions attached, a particular Kilkivan block of land can be used by a community group to develop, in a timely way, an aged care facility for Kilkivan and district.

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John Rawling makes some excellent observations about the investment ramifications for aged care companies of the trend for older Australians to choose to remain in their homes …

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Channel 7’s Sunday morning show “House of Wellness” visited Kilkivan in August 2020 to film a segment on older people’s health. They interviewed several Kilkivan locals.

Watch the full segment.

A happy gathering marked the first session of a Senior’s Social Hub …

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Senior residents of Kilkivan and district were treated to an interesting line up at the Senior’s Social Hub …

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