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Our History

The History of HOME as told by Fr Peter Day


St Raphael’s Church, Queanbeyan – Thursday 12 August, 2004 at 6pm

The half-dozen regulars gathered for our weekly meditation. I always grabbed the front pew. It meant the others were behind me and out of sight – less likely to be a distraction. A good theory, but typically much of the next sixty minutes was consumed with a series of mad-cap thoughts, wanderings, what ifs, sporting results, boredom, frustration – and quiet self-scolding for being so easily distracted. And round and round it went. Every so often, though, Silence managed to hold sway. On this occasion, about twenty minutes in, the following emerged from nowhere – and with great clarity: “Why not create a place for the homeless mentally ill? Not a refuge. Not an asylum: A home. Something along the lines of those retirement villages where peoples’ independence is respected, but where there is also a caring 24 hour presence … and nice apartments, too …” I played around with the ‘idea’, in quite a bit of detail, for the next thirty or so minutes before leaving the church at 7.05pm resolved to forget about what took place. I figured if it was a something genuine it would re-emerge – but, really, it most likely just more mad-cap thinking ….


Queanbeyan Tennis Club – Saturday 5 March, 2005 at about 1.30pm

After a gentle hour of tennis in Queanbeyan with Anne Pratt and her daughter, Misty; I said I wanted to bounce an idea off them: “I’m thinking of creating a place that provides supported accommodation for people with mental illness. Not a refuge, but something along the lines of a retirement village …” Within seconds, Anne simply said, “I’m in; whatever you do, I want to be involved,” And she meant it!

St Raphael’s Church – Saturday, 12 March, 2005 at 6.45pm

Tony Carey approached me after Mass in response to a homily I delivered proposing a vision to create a home for people with enduring mental illness. “I don’t know much about mental illness,” he said; “But I do know a bit about business, and about putting together business plans. Let’s meet at my office later this week – I think I can help.”

CIC Australia Head Office, Canberra – Wednesday, 16 March, 2005 at 6pm

As agreed to a few evenings earlier at St Raphael’s church, Tony and I met on the balcony of his office. It was a balmy evening as we sat down to chat. And, in the presence of a couple of beers and a bowl of peanuts, a life-changing conversation commenced with two simple questions: 1. “So what is your vision?” 2. “What are you trying to do?” As I responded, Tony feverishly took notes which would later be used as the background to an initial brochure promoting the vision for HOME.

St Gregory’s Primary (car park) – Wednesday 5 September, 2005 at about 8am

Architect and St Gregory’s parishioner, Nick Pelle (Oztal Architects), commits to designing HOME at a Father’s Day Breakfast. And, over the ensuing 5 years, Nick offered hundreds of hours of design and negotiation expertise – all pro bono.

St Raphael’s Church, Queanbeyan – Saturday, 8 October 2005 at 5.30 pm

Coinciding with World Mental Health Week, the vision for HOME in Queanbeyan is announced publicly for the first time during Mass. A BBQ followed in the car park outside the church.


Campaign Office of Member for Eden-Monaro – Tuesday 30 October, 2007 at 3pm

At a joint press conference with the sitting Liberal Member for Eden-Monaro, Gary Nairn, Treasurer Peter Costello announces a $2 million capital funding commitment to build HOME.

Canberra Avenue, Queanbeyan – Wednesday 7 November, 2007 at about 2.15pm

While driving past HMAS Harman, I take a call from Mike Kelly, Labor candidate for Eden-Monaro, saying that the ALP has just agreed to match the Liberal government’s $2m capital funding pledge … “You little bewdy …!”.

Queanbeyan Bicentennial Hall – Wednesday 23 May, 2007 at 6pm

HOME’S vision is announced to 120 business and community leaders at a Cocktail Party Mc’d by ABC Radio personality, Ross Solly – HOME’S web site, created pro bono by Misty Pratt, is also launched.

Queanbeyan Bicentennial Hall – Wednesday 10 October, 2007 at 7pm

Former Western Australian Premier, Geoff Gallop, delivers the keynote address at HOME’S inaugural fundraising dinner. Over 400 attended the event – $60K was raised.


284 Crawford St, Queanbeyan (car park) -Wednesday, 24 June 2009 at 8.40am

With shovels in the hands – and 300 ‘bystanders’ looking on, Sir William Deane (HOME Patron), The Hon Tanya Plibersek (ALP, Minister for Health), Terry Snow (Snow Foundation), Ian Reid (Thyne Reid Foundation), The Hon Mike Kelly (ALP, Member Eden-Monaro), Tim Overall (Queanbeyan Mayor), The Hon Steve Whan (State ALP, Member for Monaro), and Catriona Fitzpatrick (Community Representative), turn the first sod(s), thus commencing the construction of HOME in Queanbeyan.


Queanbeyan Bicentennial Hall – Thursday 1 July, 2010 at 11am

HOME in Queanbeyan (HOME) is officially opened by its Patron, Sir William Deane, in front of seven hundred locals – a rare event in which a community came together and said, “Yes, you have a place,” to some of its most vulnerable citizens.