Our History

The History of HOME as told by Fr Peter Day


St Raphael’s Church, Queanbeyan

Thursday 12 August, 2004 at 6pm

HOME began as a throw-away thought. The half dozen regulars had gathered for our weekly meditation and prayer. Typically, much of the next hour was consumed with a series of thoughts, wanderings, what ifs, sporting results, boredom and quiet self-scolding for being so easily distracted. On this occasion, however, the following idea emerged seemingly 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 twenty-four hour presence . . . and nice apartments too.” I played around with the idea in my head, in quite a bit of detail, before leaving. I figured if it was something genuine it would re-emerge — but really, it was most likely just a mad idea.


Queanbeyan Tennis Club

Saturday 5 March, 2005 at about 1.30pm

The idea still hadn’t left my mind. After a gentle hour of tennis one day in Queanbeyan with my close friend 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

The mad idea continued to grow. 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

Tony and I met on the balcony of his office. It was a balmy evening as we sat down to chat. In the presence of a couple of beers and a bowl of peanuts, a life-changing conversation commenced with two simple questions: “So what is your vision?” asked Tony, “And what are you trying to do?” As I responded, Tony feverishly took notes which would later be used as the background for 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), committed to designing HOME at a Father’s Day breakfast. Over the ensuing five years, Nick offered hundreds of hours of design and negation 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 was announced publicly for the first time during Mass. A BBQ followed in the car park outside the church. The mad idea was becoming a reality. 


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, then Treasurer Peter Costello announce 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 took a call from Mike Kelly, Labor candidate for Eden-Monaro, who told me that the ALP had just agreed to match the Liberal government’s $2M capital funding pledge. You little beauty!

Queanbeyan Bicentennial Hall

Wednesday 23 May, 2007 at 6pm

HOME’s vision was announced to over one hundred business and community leaders at a cocktail party hosted by radio personality Ross Solly. HOME’s website, created pro bono by Misty Pratt, was also launched.

Queanbeyan Bicentennial Hall

Wednesday 10 October, 2007 at 7pm

Former Western Australian Premier, Geoff Gallop, delivered the key note address at HOME’s inaugural fundraising dinner. Over four hundred people attended the event and $60,000 was raised.


284 Crawford St, Queanbeyan (car park) 

Wednesday, 24 June 2009 at 8.40am

With shovels in-hand and three hundred people looking on, Sir William Deane (HOME patron), The Hon Tanya Plibersek (Minister for Health), Terry Snow (Snow Foundation), Ian Reid (Thyne Reid Foundation), The Hon Mike Kelly (Federal Member for Eden-Monaro), Tim Overall (Queanbeyan Mayor), The Hon Steve Whan (State Member for Monaro) and Catriona Fitzpatrick (Community Representative), turned the first sods, thus commencing the construction of HOME in Queanbeyan. The idea was alive.


Queanbeyan Bicentennial Hall

Thursday 1 July, 2010 at 11am

HOME in Queanbeyan was 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.