Our HEART ValuesFor 50 years, Southern Cross Care NSW & ACT has been caring about people.

In 1972 we opened our first Retirement Community, Patrick Minahan Village in Marrickville, and in 1975 we established our first residential aged care home, John Woodward, in Merrylands. We have been delivering in-home care services to the community since 1996.

Today we care for more than 3,500 people in 40 locations across our retirement villages, home care services and residential care homes.

We believe care is much more than just clinical. For us, it means individuality, respect, support, and partnership. With a five-decade foundation to build on, we are prepared for whatever the next 50 years brings.


Anne Lane

“We are well positioned to advance our Mission to offer older people more diverse opportunities to live life to the full.”
Lawrie Hallinan

The world has changed more than anyone could have imagined, and I am sure you would all agree that 2020–21 was as tumultuous as the year before. I am pleased to share that we have continued to adapt and move quickly to prioritise our people’s health and safety whilst supporting our residents/clients and their families.

As we celebrate our 50th year, we can take as our own the words of Pope John Paul II: ‘Let us remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm, and look forward to the future with confidence.’

Thanks to the efforts of local communities since 1972, Southern Cross Care now has a breadth of facilities and care services supporting people across NSW and ACT.

The strength of our promise to care about people energised our response throughout our second year of struggle with COVID-19. Many of our facilities endured long periods of restrictions. We acknowledge the burden this has been for residents, their families and our staff. During this time of difficulty, there were many creative efforts by staff, families and schools to reach out to residents with expressions of support.

Care in SCC HomesOur CEO, Helen Emmerson, and her team were excellent at increasing support to residents, training staff and outbreak prevention. Their regular communication provided reassurance to many residents, families and staff.

We remain united that we will all get through this together.

Helen, and our other marvellous staff, were also able to continue major improvements to our facilities and systems. It is pleasing to see progress on the redevelopment of our sites at Grafton, North Parramatta and Merrylands.

The past year was also one of Board renewal, with outgoing Directors: Anne Lane, Rose-Marie Hoekstra, John Devlin, Ian Chisholm, Angela McKay and Geoff Officer, completing their valuable contribution and service. We also welcomed Ant Dureau and Mike Christensen as new Directors and Anna Kaplan as our Company Secretary and General Counsel.

We developed a new Strategic Plan (2021–2024) during the year. This plan will help us make the most of our strengths and develop our sites and staff to provide the best possible support to our residents and clients.

We are well positioned to advance our Mission to offer older people more diverse opportunities to live life to the full.

Stay safe and keep well.

Lawrie Hallinan


CEO - Helen Emmerson

“Leading our organisation through the pandemic has been both challenging and rewarding.”
Helen Emmerson

While a great deal has changed in the past 50 years, our commitment to care has not. As a not-for-profit, Mission-based organisation, Southern Cross Care exists solely to care for, and about, people as they age.

There is no doubt that the aged care industry has changed significantly during our rich 50-year history. Never before has the sector faced such challenging times. With the rise in dementia and the ever-present threat of COVID-19, vigilance and constant improvement are always necessary. Southern Cross Care has always been guided by an unwavering dedication to our Mission and HEART Values.

Leading our organisation through the pandemic has been both challenging and rewarding. It has been extraordinary to see residents, clients, their loved ones and staff all come together and unite to keep each other protected and safe. Establishing a COVID-19 Taskforce of representatives from across our organisation in 2020 enabled us to communicate changes more efficiently and engage more meaningfully with people when it mattered most. Technology played an essential role in this regard, especially given the reach of our network across NSW and ACT.

CEO Helen in Marsfield HomeThroughout these challenging times, we have remained committed to improving customer experience and service delivery across all our care, with workforce being vital to delivering this. To this end, I am committed to attracting, growing, and retaining dedicated and qualified staff.

We are investing in technology and systems to continue to transform digitally, and exploring innovative ways to grow our services, which has also been captured in our 2021–2024 Strategic Plan. I look forward to implementing this plan with the support of our Executive Management Team, who provided invaluable insights and were a constant source of knowledge and expertise throughout the strategic planning journey.

As a Registered Nurse, it remains a privilege for me to be entrusted with the care of our residents and clients across our retirement villages, home care services and residential care homes. I believe that ageing is everyone’s business and that the value and experience that older people bring to society is something to be celebrated.

At Southern Cross NSW & ACT, we strive to provide residents and clients with a purposeful and fulfilling life. This is underpinned by our Care and Purposeful
Living Engagement model.

I would like to thank our staff, who are dedicated, committed and passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of older people. I also want to thank our Executive Management Team, who continue to demonstrate outstanding courage and leadership. They are an inspiration to me. Thank you also to our Board Members, for their ongoing support.

I am incredibly proud and honoured to lead this wonderful organisation, and with a five-decade foundation to build on, I believe we are prepared for whatever the next 50 years will bring.

Thank you.

Helen Emmerson




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Commonwealth Home Care Support Programme output hours


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The impact of COVID-19, the findings of the Aged Care Royal Commission and changing attitudes to aged care generally are all factors influencing what aged care will become in the next few years. A strategic plan puts our focus in the right areas.

We are excited about our new strategic plan for 2021–2024, with five guiding strategic principles and measurable intentions that will continue to guide us over the next three years.

Strategic PlanStrategic PlanStrategic PlanStrategic PlanStrategic PlanStrategic PlanStrategic Plan

Celebrating our Golden Jubilee year

50 years of caring
The year 2020 marked our Golden Jubilee, from our humble beginnings in the 1970s to the organisation we know today, delivering quality care to over 3,500 people across urban, regional and remote communities.

The 1970s were a time of establishment, marked by choice and respect and the creation of new experiences for older people.

The 1980s saw major reform across the entire aged care sector. We purchased a retirement village and residential care home in Bateau Bay and built our Kirrawee and Caringbah residential villages.

Embracing a new strategic model in the 1990s, we opened our Parkes retirement village and residential care home, launched our Home Care service and rolled out Australia’s first formal aged care Pastoral and Spiritual Care Program.

By the end of the 2000s, our organisation had more than doubled in size, following a merger with Southern Cross Homes (ACT) Inc and the opening of retirement villages and residential care homes including Banora Point, Tweed Heads, Casino, Grafton, Corowa, Bombala, Cootamundra and Young.

A period of revitalisation and recognition for excellence followed in the 2010s through key partnerships and numerous redevelopment projects. We also opened Thornton Park in Penrith, providing residential care, retirement village and home care.

As we embark upon our sixth decade, with our Mission and Values as our compass and robust Strategic Plan, we stand in good stead for the next 50 years to enable older Australians to live their best life.


Our residential care homes have COVID-19 safe and robust infection control and prevention measures in place. Most of our residents have chosen to get vaccinated, and our homes have hosted resident vaccination clinics run by external providers.

Abha PhillipsCOVID-19 vaccine clinics began operating for our residents in March 2021, and most of our residents have now received both doses of the vaccine. Public Health Orders mandate that all aged care workers must have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 17 September 2021, and all staff have now complied with this directive.

Despite staff being identified as a priority group and our staff indicating they are willing to get vaccinated, they have not had the same formal access to vaccines as residents. This has been an issue for all aged care providers across the country. We have been working closely with our peak bodies and the industry to ensure access to the vaccine is a high priority for all staff and residents.

Southern Cross Care will be one of the first aged care providers to adopt and independently fund the use of Rapid Antigen Tests as an extra screening measure for staff and visitors to our facilities in COVID-19 hotspot locations. This will be invaluable in preventing the entry of COVID-positive people into our facilities.

The past year has also been a busy one as we prepared 19 of our services for re-accreditation. Each facility has submitted a self-assessment against the Aged Care Quality Standards to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) for review prior to a re-accreditation visit. The Commission has also conducted several infection control audits to assess our preparedness for a COVID-19 outbreak, as well as regular contact visits and desktop audits.

To meet the Mission statement and the ACQSC Aged Care Standards, our homes must be both safe and sustainable. Consequently, we needed to close our residential care home in Harden.

In June 2021, the Quality and Clinical Governance Team welcomed Abha Phillips commitment to the team. Abha has a strong background in aged care and disability services and has worked closely with the facility managers to ensure our compliance with all NDIS reporting obligations and the documentation requirements for our residents, who are also NDIS participants.

As part of our continuous quality improvement program, we began implementing a new medication management system, BESTmed, in 2021. The BESTmed system provides the following benefits for team members:

  • electronic administration and ordering (BESTdose)
  • electronic charting (BESTdoctor)
  • simplicity
  • minimal manual handling of medication
  • time-saving for nursing team members
  • flexibility
  • a system that is user friendly
  • live up-to-date medication list
  • accessible administration records allowing for better clinical decisions
  • removes paper and the administration involved with paper
  • remote access, anywhere anytime for doctors, no need to wait for doctors to come in to see your residents.

Another new initiative has been the use of Moving on Audits (MoA) by both our residential and home care services. MoA is a quality improvement platform that provides greater transparency and oversight of our quality improvement activities. The annual audit program provides a 360° review of our care and services to ensure we continue to provide quality care and services to our residents and clients.

Courage and Commitment

COVID-19 courage and commitment

Southern Cross Care has held firm to the belief that with two nurses in senior positions—CEO and Chief Operating Officer—our clinicians have consistently been able to make the necessary informed decisions to keep our residents and staff safe.

These include effective infection prevention and control decisions, which have gone beyond the basic recommendations made by NSW & ACT health authorities.

Consequently, as one of the larger providers we can successfully demonstrate that our preventative actions and internal decision making have shown that we are an industry leader in the prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks, especially in NSW.


Residential CareProviding consistent quality care for the older members of our community in our residential care homes has inspired our work for 50 years.

In 1975, since opening our first residential care home in Merrylands. We now have 30 residential aged care services available across Sydney, regional NSW and the ACT accommodating more than 1,700 residents. Some highlights from 2020–21 that we are extremely proud of include:
• modernising our Nurse Call systems;
• partnering with a specialist catering company to create high quality, nutritious food for our clients;
• conducting regular surveys among clients and families to assess our response to the pandemic;
• providing iPads in our homes to help clients and families keep in touch; and
• introducing an Engagement and Purposeful Living Manager to improve our lifestyle and spiritual care programs, as part of our transition to a Care and Engagement Model.

Transition to a Care and Engagement Model
We are very proud to be an industry leader in challenging the existing priorities and expectations within aged care. For years the emphasis has been placed, as most people expect, on the care and clinical needs of residents.

We have challenged this view by placing individualised emphasis on the meaningful engagement of our residents. This approach gives equal emphasis to the care and services related to a resident’s emotional wellbeing, as distinct from the emphasis being principally on their physical wellbeing.

To help us make this significant shift in approach we have added to our ‘Lifestyle and Engagement’ team. In addition to our Engagement and Purposeful Living Manager—Diversional Therapist Jacki Quirke, we now have more diversional therapists working with the lifestyle and spiritual care teams to make sure resident services and experiences are used to the full.

Focus on resident safety and wellbeing
Throughout the pandemic, the safety and wellbeing of our residents has remained a priority. We have been able to keep up a program of activities that offers a wide range of experiences. Craft, musical events, games and outdoor activities have all been managed carefully by our dedicated staff. Our residents’ families have been supportive and understanding, which has been greatly appreciated.

Individualised support for residents living with dementia
Our collaboration with Dementia Training Australia continues to help us provide the best possible experience for the increasing number of our residents living with dementia. The individualised support we can offer helps all these residents make the most of social interactions and benefit from the many available therapies.

Betty’s story: Bridging the distance during COVID-19

Chris-Betty's sonBetty lived in Berala, NSW, with her husband for more than 50 years before they both moved into one of our residential care homes.

Betty’s husband soon passed away, and she is now a permanent resident in the home. Her children make sure she feels connected with her family, but this unprecedented pandemic is challenging for families and their loved ones.

Betty’s sons used to visit regularly until COVID-19 restrictions were introduced. Her son John recently moved abroad for work. ‘I was devastated to move away from Mum, but I had the love and support of Mum and the whole family’, says John.

Technology assists significantly in connecting Betty with all her sons in Australia and overseas.

‘Mum is very tech-savvy and has an iPad and iPhone to keep in touch’, says her son Chris. ‘We can be in contact with Mum and keep her updated about our family. She has been able to watch her great grandson’s bath times, see our birthdays, and we sometimes have the whole family on a video call at once, which is always fun and chaotic’, says Chris.

Gillian Jones is the Lifestyle Coordinator in the care home and is impressed with how technology like iPhones, iPads, Facetime and Zoom calls gives new hope to families and residents separated by COVID-19.

‘Betty is amazing for her age. She keeps in touch with her family and friends daily using an iPad or iPhone. Her sons used to visit regularly, so she is used to seeing them. Even though she can’t be with them in person right now, her face still lights up when she is on a video call. It’s instant recognition and smiles’, says Gillian.

Making an effort to stay connected with loved ones using technology can make a big difference to residents and families. It significantly lowers the probability of depression, feelings of isolation and improves well-being. John uses Facetime to video call his Mum most days.

‘We speak so often we sometimes have nothing left to talk about! Nevertheless, I think Mum and I both look forward to family calls, and they do a lot to bridge the physical distance between us. I try to share details and involve Mum in my daily life here, with images of my local community, transport, bike rides and introducing her to work colleagues.

‘The calls are also extremely valuable for mental wellbeing. We are all grateful for the gift of technology that enables us to stay connected’, says John.


Southern Cross Care is known and trusted throughout NSW and the ACT, where we have been a part of the community for nearly 50 years. Our service reaches metropolitan Sydney and regional locations, from Tweed Heads in the north to Albury on the NSW–Victorian border.

There are many ways in which our home care service helps to keep older people supported and living comfortably at home, from help at home, allied health support, meal assistance and social support, to assistive technology, nursing care, breaks for carers, home maintenance, personal care and wellbeing.

Throughout the pandemic, our teams implemented welfare/social calls to residents when face-to-face meetings were not possible. They worked with individual clients to find other avenues for connecting and staying connected, including using technology wherever possible.

Brian’s story: Help to stay at home

Brian's storyBrian is making the most of retirement and enjoying the lifestyle he and his wife have always dreamed of.

Like many other Australians, Brian wants to remain independent in his home for as long as possible. He has some underlying health concerns, but he is making use of the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) provided by Southern Cross Care, and living his life on his terms.

After 46 years in their family home, Brian and wife June decided to move into Cardinal Gilroy Village three years ago. They loved the village atmosphere and having people around to socialise with.

When Brian learned he had Parkinson’s disease and diabetes, he was determined to manage the conditions and continue to live his life to the full. With the help of our CHSP service, Brian continues to be active in the community and remains in his own home.

The CHSP aims to establish the right amount of support to ensure people’s needs are met and maintain their independence. Brian receives physiotherapy each month under the program and other available allied health services.

Physiotherapy plays an essential role alongside other care services to maintain function and quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s — including assessments of strength, balance and function, and a variety of exercises. Walking is also essential — back in the village, Brian continues clocking up three kilometres of healthy body conditioning each day on his walks around the perimeter.

Home care assistance is important in helping older Australians stay at home and remain independent for longer. Receiving support at home can delay and sometimes even prevent the need for moving into a residential care home.


In 1972, Southern Cross Care opened its first retirement village, Patrick Minahan Court, in Marrickville.

Located in one of the most popular residential districts in Western Sydney, Patrick Minahan Village still offers our residents independent living in a friendly and social community today.

Cardinal Gilroy Village is another example of a retirement community dating back to the 1970s when land was acquired from the Marist Sisters to construct 100 retirement units.

Fast forward some 50 years, and plans are well underway for the redevelopment of Cardinal Gilroy Village, which will see the old Community Centre and villas demolished and the site cleared for preparation and construction. The first stage incorporates a modern new community centre including new activities spaces, a hairdressing salon, billiards and games room, resident kitchen and café, outdoor deck and a new chapel.

This stage also includes 17 new villas, which will be modern and spacious with integrated garages, solar PV power and open-plan living spaces. This new stage is part of our overall plan to refresh our flagship retirement living village.

Marylin’s story: Living the benefits

Marylin's storyIsolation, ill-health, loneliness, and the sometimes overwhelming feeling that comes with looking after a larger home and garden are all factors that encourage people to downsize to a retirement community.

The relief and joy that comes from moving to a community of like-minded people at this time are significant, and that was even before the COVID-19 pandemic brought all these concerns into sharp focus. The importance of care and community cannot be overstated in a time that has seen ‘iso’ crowned as ‘word of the year’ by The Australian National Dictionary Centre.

Even in the best of times, ageing can bring a sense of isolation, and the pandemic has reinforced how important it is to have company and support nearby.

For Marilyn, moving to Thornton Park, a contemporary retirement village in Penrith, was just the tonic needed. Marilyn enjoys meeting new people in her new home and proudly introducing family and friends to her apartment.

‘My grandchildren have been to visit, and they say, “Oh, Nan, your apartment is so lovely”. I’ve had a couple of friends over for dinner, and they’ve been impressed too. It’s a beautiful place.’

Staff profile: Sue Ryan, Lifestyle Coordinator

Sue Ryan, Lifestyle CoordinatorAs Lifestyle Coordinator at the Southern Cross Care Assumption Villa, Sue has earned the respect of residents, forming many genuine friendships, and is a well-respected member of the Leeton community..

Sue is preparing to celebrate her 20 years of service this month, and her passion for caring and putting smiles on residents’ faces is stronger than ever before.

Sue and her husband Buster were always very involved in supporting others in need, conducting hay runs to drought, fire, and flood-affected communities near and far.

Sadly, Sue’s husband passed away last year, but she was determined to continue the hay runs and work at the Villa. For Sue, caring for others is in her blood, and it’s what gets her out of bed each day.

‘I had some time off last year but found solace and contentment in returning to work because it’s what I know and love’, says Sue. ‘My days at the Villa are jam-packed but also very rewarding and satisfying. I have an opportunity to make my residents smile and feel happy, and I provide meaningful activities to brighten their days. They also like to hear about my community work, and it’s heart-warming to realise that they also care about me.’

Like many other residents at the Villa, Don Kelly has developed a strong connection with Sue. A retired farmer, Don loves to hear about Sue’s regular hay runs and her work helping other farmers in the region.

Conversation is vital for the residents at Leeton, and good communication makes them feel valued, cared for and puts them at ease. But there’s also plenty to do to help with physical and mental stimulation — including bingo, cooking, barbecues, board and card games, bowls, tai chi, exercise and relaxation classes, arts and crafts and regular bus outings.

As Lifestyle Coordinator, Sue enriches the lives of her residents through entertainment and exercise of mind and body — in effect, providing a sense of purpose.

Sue continues to be a valued member of her community and the Villa and is looking forward to celebrating her 20 years of commitment with residents and staff.


The COVID-19 pandemic altered our world in many ways, including the acceleration of digital transformation.

We have enabled a new organisation-wide group collaboration tool, which helps staff stay connected to colleagues where travel restrictions have prevented face-to-face interactions. Another challenge — allowing remote healthcare specialists secure access to our clinical management system — was overcome by using Microsoft cloud virtual desktop services.

Technology in our HomesThe pandemic has also seen a sharp increase in cyber-criminal activities, and not-for-profits are not immune to these attacks. Our Information Services has detected and stopped more than 10,000 malicious emails from attackers to our staff in the last 12 months alone, highlighting the need to remain vigilant and strengthen our cyber resilience against an evolving threat environment.

Our application landscape continues to be enhanced by implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for retirement living using our financial system Epicor. An upgrade to our home care system (Procura) was completed for performance improvements and new functionality. Integration efforts are also underway with our primary care systems to help with workforce management.

On the residential front, the first stage of the new refurbished Grafton facility was opened in 2021. This includes a resident network for telecommunications and internet connectivity.

To optimise our residents living environment and experience in their home, it has been necessary to temporarily close some beds to ensure the residents are not inconvenienced during refurbishments including Grafton, and Marian in North Parramatta. Although this decision has impacted on our income, it demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our resident’s environmental experience is optimised.

Moving into 2022 will see the completion of Stages 2 and 3 of Grafton and the refurbishment of The Marian in North Parramatta.


UDIA Award for Excellence 2020
Our newly redeveloped North Turramurra residential care home won the prestigious UDIA NSW Award for Excellence in Aged Care.

The Awards were presented recently at a gala ceremony and are designed to highlight innovation, sustainability, industry leadership and excellence in urban development across NSW and the ACT.

The care home is situated on a large heritagelisted site and bordering sensitive National Park bushland. It’s also a leading example of sustainable design and features solar panels, LED lighting throughout and two live plant green walls.

The design drew inspiration from the landscape, views and local history. As part of the redevelopment, restoration work was completed on the beautiful and historic Huon House, built in 1895. The Huon Park estate was established by politician and businessman George Bertrand Edwards and his family. The house will now serve as a meeting place for residents, a planned cafe, and overnight accommodation for visiting relatives and friends.

Michael Haslam, North Turramurra resident, says his new home is tailored to all his needs. ‘It is a wonderful place to live. Lovely carers, nurses and management. I couldn’t ask for a better place. I would recommend it to everybody,’ says Mr Haslam.

The home has 113 single private suites with ensuites, some with dementia-specific layouts. Amenities include a café, hairdressing salon, a children’s playground, barbecue area, library, social and community facilities, family gathering spaces, wellness rooms, extended walking areas, an events room and various meeting rooms.

New landscaping and gardens complement several established trees protected from land clearing, providing an environment with physical and psychological benefits for residents, especially those experiencing dementia. North Turramurra residents enjoy the state-of-the-art residential home and using the spaces and opportunities for socialisation and meaningful activities.


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Donations and Bequests
We appreciate all bequests and donations and sincerely thank those people and their families who have named us as a beneficiary.

Join our team
We love what we do and the communities we provide care and support services for. We offer a broad range of careers in retirement living, home care, residential care and corporate roles. Click here to know more.

Whether it’s in one of our care homes or a retirement village, many older people have lost family and friends and loneliness and isolation can be very real for many. Becoming one of our volunteers can enhance the lives of people in countless ways.

Tell your friends
Recommendations and referrals are important, so telling your family and friends about our great work and sharing your experiences is another way we can help more people. You can also follow us on social media.

For more information on any of our services, or to enquire about ways in which you can support our organisation, phone 1800 632 314 or email enquiries@sccliving.org.au
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