Queen's Birthday honour for aged-care campaigner

Port Fairy's Jennifer Gubbins received a Queen's Birthday honour for her work with the Hamilton and District Aged Care Trust. Picture: Rob Gunstone
Port Fairy's Jennifer Gubbins received a Queen's Birthday honour for her work with the Hamilton and District Aged Care Trust. Picture: Rob Gunstone

A community campaign to improve the lives of those living in aged care has led to a Queen’s Birthday honour for Port Fairy’s Jenny Gubbins.

The Hamilton and District Aged Care Trust was established in 1992 and over the years it raised about $1m through fundraisers and philanthropic trusts, as well as helping access millions in government funding.

Mrs Gubbins, who has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal, stepped down as president of the trust last year but said she was proud of The Grange’s 50-bed nursing home she helped to raise money for.

She said there had been a nursing home in Hamilton at the time but when her mother ended up in that facility, which was in desperate need of an upgrade, it inspired her to fundraise for a new aged-care home.

Mrs Gubbins and a group of friends on the committee raised money through Bridge games, luncheons, garden days and bus trips.

“In those days there weren’t a lot of fundraising things actually. Now it seems to be everyone is fundraising,” she said.“It just all fell into place and we were lucky. 

“I don’t know why I’m getting this because all of us worked hard.”

As well as raise money for the Hamilton Hospital-run nursing home, Mrs Gubbins also helped secure $6.2m from the Kennett Government for the Birches dementia wing next to the hospital.

“That was a stroke of luck that we got that because it was the begining of dementia being talked about more and the government didn’t give as much money as quickly after that for a while,” she said.

Mrs Gubbins, who lived on the family’s cattle and sheep farm at Chatsworth until she moved to Port Fairy, worked on other community projects and was secretary/president of the Liberal Party’s Mortlake branch.