Azure Blue celebrates 70 years of BlueCare

Published 5:00am 22 September 2023

Azure Blue celebrates 70 years of BlueCare
Words by Nadia Chapman

Residents and staff at Azure Blue Redcliffe Retirement Village held a morning tea this week to celebrate 70 years of BlueCare.

There was plenty of laughter, stories and cake shared in the Blue Café at Azure Blue on Tuesday, September 19, as the 70th birthday celebrations commenced. 

Formally known as the Blue Nursing Domiciliary Service, BlueCare has come a long way, but what has always remained is the support for Redcliffe's elderly community.

Hosted by village manager Jane Malone and resident Beris Pritchard, the morning tea was special for all involved.

“Thank you ever so much for coming and helping us celebrate this lovely event. We have a massive cake over there; I hope it’s enough for all of us,” Jane laughs.

“On behalf of our organising committee and our manager Jane, it’s my pleasure to welcome you to this very special 70th birthday,” Beris says.

With more than 10 café tables filled with residents wearing blue, the village’s morning tea was a success, especially after a few special guests stopped by.

Candidate for Redcliffe Kerri-Anne Dooley took some time to reminisce while thanking the retirement village for all its hard work.

“Congratulations to BlueCare for 70 years. As I look around the room, I think of many of you that I’ve met through my nursing career, but my first connection with this site was as a girl guide when I was 12 years old and volunteering at Nazarene and Girraween,” Ms Dooley says.

“I want to say a big thank you to each of you who choose to live here as a place you call home. I want to say thank you to the staff and I want to honour those who have served – like Jeff and Keith – to the registered nurses that are here; and to those who have volunteered.”

State Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’ath also marveled at Blue Care's contribution. 

“What an extraordinary history. To listen to how far you’ve come in 70 years and to see the growth in the local area and the contribution. I also want to acknowledge Beris’ contribution to this community in so many ways; to all the staff here at Azure Blue and most importantly to all those women and men who have contributed so much to Blue Nursing over those 70 years,” Ms D’ath says.

“Congratulations and thank you to all the staff and the volunteers going forward; and of course, all of you who call Azure Blue home – it is a wonderful facility here, it’s not just a facility, it is a home, and we thank you for making this your home in this community.”

The residents at Azure Blue showed their gratitude, with one resident explaining how supportive the village's staff are.

“I would like to say how wonderful Azure Blue has been. It has become a sanctuary for many of us who have become tired of living in houses where we had so much work to do. The sanctuary we have found here has been beautiful and we are all very happy that we made this choice,” the resident says.

Snapshot of Azure Blue’s history

1950 – The first nursing home service was provided in the Newtown and Redfern area of Sydney by the reverend Samuel McKibben of the Newtown Methodist Church.

1953 – On May 5, 1953, Mr McKibben and the reverend Arthur Preston of the West End Methodist Church called a meeting at the Canberra Hotel in Brisbane after hearing former nurse, Kathleen Anderson share her concerns about people in their homes needing nursing care.

1953 – On August 24, 1953, Sister Olive Crombie was the first nurse in the Blue Nursing Domiciliary Service and travelled by tram to her first patient for in-home care. Blue was considered a more practical colour for a uniform than white was, which is where the name Blue Nursing came from.

1956 – By the end of 1956, three Blue Nursing service centres had been established in Queensland. A Blue Nursing Service council had also formed to offer guidance and disburse financial aid received from the State and Commonwealth Government.

1957 – A new Blue Nursing service was established at Sandgate, with a sub-centre at Redcliffe, which remained part of Sandgate for 16 years. The Redcliffe centre initially operated out of Florence Hodge’s home at Clontarf, where she provided free rooms, took phone calls and looked after the nurses.

1966 – A story in the Redcliffe Herald dated July 20, 1966, reported that a meeting was called for the formation of a Blue Nursing Hospital Appeals Ancillary Group to assist in building a hospital at Redcliffe for the chronically ill and elderly. The group would go on to raise money for the hospital to be built by hosting flower shows, fetes, door knocks, baby shows, mannequin parades, concerts and bus trips.

1968 – On March 16, 1968, Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin unveiled a plaque for the Nazarene Hospital for the chronically ill at Anzac Ave.

1975 – The initial Redcliffe centre became a separate entity, servicing the Redcliffe, Deception Bay, Narangba, Kallangur, Petrie, Dayboro, Caboolture and Bribie Island areas – with Caboolture becoming a separate centre in 1982.

1976 – The Girraween aged care facility was built on land adjoining Nazarene on Anzac Ave.

1985 – By the mid-80s, more space was required and there was a need for day care and therapy services within the Redcliffe community. An adjoining property at Percy St was purchased.

1987 – The Percy St centre, now named Allied Health, was opened by former Senator of Australia Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen.

2011 – On January 1, 2011, Blue Nursing became Azure Blue Retirement Village, now 12 years old at 91 Anzac Ave, Redcliffe.

See the photos below (click through)

Photos by Dominika Lis

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