In 1991, a new Tresillian Parenting Guide was launched written by Nurse Educators, Cathrine Fowler and Patricia Gornall.
Titled, ‘How to Stay Sane in Your Baby’s First Year’. The foreword was written by media personality, Geraldine Doogue, who aptly wrote ‘one never quite ‘arrives’ as a parent in an absolute sense. It is one of life’s great explorations with pots of gold dotted along a path which is sometimes rather problematic’. The book covered topics such as preparing for baby, coping with crying and lack of sleep, feeding, and dealing with post-natal depression.
More than 10,000 copies of ‘How to Stay Sane in Your Baby’s First Year’ were sold and the book was republished several times.
Pam Fikar, Director of Nursing
In the early 1990’s, Phillipa Milne one of the Council members conducted a review of Tresillian organisational structure. The outcome being that Petersham, Willoughby and Wollstonecraft sites were united under one Director of Nursing, Pam Fikar (nee Davidson). Pam brought with her a wealth of experience to Tresillian as an educator and charge nurse at Willoughby. This created an organisational structure that was consistent with NSW Health organisations and enabled Tresillian to present a united front and enhance its status as a leader in child and family health.
During that time Sydney’s west and the Lower Blue Mountains district were undergoing a population explosion with thousands of families making it their home. The Tresillian Council saw the need for early parenting services to support families struggling to cope with their new baby, so they vigorously lobbied the NSW Government to consider funding a new Centre. Led by President, Mrs Alison Cox, discussions commenced with the Wentworth Area Board and the state government, to establish a new purpose-built family care centre in the grounds adjacent to Nepean Hospital. The former NSW Health Minister, Hon. Peter Collins MP had experienced the Tresillian service first hand, and recognised the need for services initiative and on 22nd October, 1990, announced that the Government would provide $4.6 million towards the cost of the Centre.
The opening at 11am on 22nd August, 1992 by Hon. Ron Phillips, the NSW Health Minister, was a huge community event with the local Clubs all supporting the day. There was even a ‘nappy changing’ contest for dads (on dolls of course!), clowns, and television personality, Humphrey B Bear made an appearance. 2KA broadcasted ‘live’ while hundreds of families toured the new Centre, which was architect designed to maximise sunlight and space. With 38-bed residential beds, (operating Monday to Sunday) and an 8-place Day services area (Monday to Friday), Tresillian Nepean was immediately in demand and continues to be to this day.
Sadly, one of the key architects, David Lindner, who designed the Tresillian Wentworth facility, went missing on a holiday to Europe during the project. A remembrance plaque in his name still remains at Tresillian.
Gail Boyle RN, was appointed the first Centre Manager at Tresillian Wentworth.
Clem Potter, CEO
On 23rd September, 1991, Tresillian’s staff were rocked by the sudden death of their much loved Chief Executive Officer, Mr Clem Potter. Mr Potter had served the organisation as CEO for 20 years. To recognise his outstanding contribution, the boardroom at Canterbury was named the Clem Potter room. Mr Alan Cartwright stepped in temporarily as CEO until Mr David Hannaford was appointed General Manager in 1992. On Council, Mr Bob Elmslie OAM replaced Mrs Alison Cox, as President.
In 1992, Tresillian celebrated 75 years with a ‘75th Birthday Conference for health professionals at Sydney’s newly built ANA Hotel. Special guest speaker at the Conference dinner was Social Researcher, Hugh Mackay, also a ‘Tresillian Baby’.
Tresillian Petersham closes
Both the residential and day stay units at Tresillian Petersham continued to be in great demand with referrals coming not only from Sydney but also rural areas. But it was becoming clear that the ageing building at Petersham was inadequate to provide for future service delivery. The old home needed significant renovation and funding was tight, so in consultation with the NSW Health Department, the decision was made to sell the Petersham Home and put the funds into a new purpose-built Centre located behind Canterbury Hospital at Belmore. In March, 1998, 2 Shaw Street, Petersham was sold at auction for $1,325K.
If was a sad farewell at Petersham after 78 years. To commemorate the occasion, a farewell dinner was held at Trethaway Gardens Function Centre, also in Shaw Street, attended by some 200 people including one of the first babies to use the Tresillian service, Joy Chardon of Marrickville (Born 1921). Joy’s mother was 19 when she was born and on the advice of her Doctor, put her baby on cow’s milk. Needless to say, Joy didn’t thrive. In the meantime, Tresillian opened at Petersham and she was admitted immediately. Another special guest was Ms Kathleen Clifton, former director of Nursing from 1936 to 1969 who gave a moving and candid speech about her work with Dr Margaret Harper and the Society over that period.
Tresillian Canterbury opens
All services moved to Belmore in May and on 11th December 1998, Tresillian Canterbury was officially opened by the NSW Minister for Health, Hon. Dr Andrew Refshauge MP, at a morning tea at the new facility attended by around 30 guests. Radio personality, Kaylee Harris, the breakfast announcer on 2WS at the time, was a special guest at the opening and spoke about the support she received from Tresillian with her first baby. The new facility increased services to a 7-day, 22-bed residential unit, a 6-place day stay unit and an Outreach service. President, Mr Elmslie said in the 1998 Annual Report ‘While space is tight, the modern facilities will lead us comfortably into the 21st Century’.