OUR SENIORS | Noel, now 86, enjoys the circle of care -- and HammondCare gets a huge upgrade

NoelCochran, 86, of Heckenberg, was the first child born to a resident of the then-new village of Hammondville on November 20, 1933.

He's the fourth of eight children and has fond memories of growing up in the ambitious social project.

"Everyone knew everyone, it was like a big family," he said. "The closeness of knowing everybody really made it special."

He was named Noel after his Dad, also NoelCochrane, and his mother was Emily.

Hammondville is the suburb that formed out of a 1930s rehousing project run by Reverend BobHammond in which destitute families got a cottage and came to own their own land and house. It's now a complete suburb in its own right, with a fascinating history.

Noel is part of that history, being the first baby born to residents in Hammond's pioneer settlement.

The charity Hammond started in the 1930s went on in the 1950s to build some of the first integrated aged-care accommodation in Australia, on vacant land at Hammondville near the settler housing. This health and aged-care charity is now known as HammondCare.

The 1950s aged-care buildings are currently being updated as cottage-style aged care in a multi-million-dollar redevelopment.

At Hammondville, HammondCare now has dementia and aged-care services, a research centre, home-care services and a retirement village called HammondGrove.

In the rough old days, young Noel and his seven brothers would sleep in a shed outside and burn cow pats to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Noel said they enjoyed walking to school each day, ducking home for lunch and swimming in the creek in the hot summers.

He and his wife Yvonne moved to Heckenberg in 1962 and came back into contact with HammondCare two years ago. They get support from HammondCare At Home.

Noel said the charity today echoes Hammond's visionary work.

"They've been a marvellous help to us. They're really carrying out Hammond's legacy. People just know that the name means help. And it's exciting to learn of the next phase of care at Hammondville."

The current redevelopment is bringing one of Sydney's earliest examples of integrated aged care into the 21st century.

Bond House is being upgraded while keeping some of its 1950s charm in the next stage of this major work. Stage 2 of the redevelopment is due for completion in July, adding 50 beds to the site in five new cottages.

MichaelCooney, general manager of HammondCare property and capital works, said the four-stage development would eventually see 155 more residents at Hammondville.

"HammondCare has a long heritage of helping people in their time of nee, and obviously Hammondville is a significant place in the history of this charity," he said. "We're upgrading our homes to offer the best care possible to more people while honouring the site's history."

Bond House was one of the first integrated residential aged-care services in Australia when it opened in the 1950s.

This ambitious project continued Hammond's vision to help the most vulnerable, having established the pioneer village of Hammondville as a fresh start for families rendered destitute by the Great Depression in the 1930s.

The charity HammondCare grew out of that and today helps thousands of seniors with their health and aged care. The current works at Hammondville draw on best-practice, evidence-based design for aged and dementia care, he said.

  • More information and admissions advice for the new aged-care home or for HammondCare At Home: 1300 426 666.