Many people have made significant contributions to the establishment and development of the Westcare organisation since its inception as the Tuberculosis Association of Western Australia in the 1940s. Everyone’s contribution to Westcare is valued enormously. Below are some examples of people who have made outstanding contributions to Westcare. In some cases these people have supported the organisation for many decades.
Dr Linley Henzell was a trained chest physician and was appointed as medical superintendent of Wooroloo in 1941. He was the first Western Australian Director of Tuberculosis Control and appointed as the first Commonwealth Director of Tuberculosis in 1957. Dr Henzell was one of the founders of the Tuberculosis Association of Western Australia. He was on the Executive Committee, was a Life Member, and in honour of his immense contribution was invited to be Vice Patron of the Association of WA from 1957 to 1973. He was awarded a CBE in 1964. One of the original residential blocks at the Florence Hummerston Hostel (B Block) was later named in his honour.
Mrs Florence Hummerston OBE was a City of Perth councillor between 1951 and 1969 and was linked with many Western Australian charities and public works in her lifetime. She was President of the Tuberculosis Association from 1959 to 1981, was made a Life Member in 1980 and Vice Patron from 1981 to 1983. She was also President of the Tuberculosis Association Ladies Auxiliary from 1954 until her passing in 1983 with her aspiration for the organisation being “for all members to work in harmony together and help toward raising funds for the needy”. She worked tirelessly for the cause of rehabilitation and was largely instrumental in instigating the building of the hostel in Shenton Park for people with disabilities, and negotiated a substantial loan from the government at the time. This hostel was named the Florence Hummerston Hostel in her honour.
Even when she went into hospital at the age of 94 she said she hoped her stay would be short because there was so much still to do. Her great contribution to public life still continues today and she is remembered for her wit, vigilance, readiness to speak her mind fearlessly and be completely whole-hearted in everything she believed in. She was awarded an OBE in 1960.
Professor Eric Underwood graduated with a Bachelor of Agriculture from the University of Western Australia in 1928. He pioneered the work on the importance of trace elements cobalt and zinc in land cultivation and in 1946 was appointed Hackett Professor of Agriculture, Dean of the Faculty and Director of the University’s Institute of Agriculture. He was an excellent lecturer whose logical manner of presentation made even the most complex material easily understood.
Professor Underwood understood the problems associated with tuberculosis and provided excellent leadership in educating the public. He was the inaugural President of the Tuberculosis Association of Western Australia (1946-1959), and was federal President of the National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis (1956 to 1958). He was awarded a CBE in 1963 and AO in 1976.
Dr Bob Elphick gained a medical degree in Melbourne in 1940. Enlisting in the army, Dr Elphick was responsible for examining new recruits and was seconded to the Northam Army Hospital to care for returned soldiers suffering from tuberculosis. Demobilised in 1946, Dr Elphick was persuaded to work at Wooroloo Sanatorium, where in 1947 as Superintendent he successfully administered what was possibly WA’s first dose of streptomycin which ‘cured’ a young nurse of tuberculosis. At Wooroloo he was actively involved in setting up Linley Valley Colony sheltered workshop to aid rehabilitation of tuberculosis patients.
In 1958 when the Perth Chest Hospital opened, Dr Elphick was appointed the Physician Superintendent for 10 years and then Senior Chest Physician for the next 10 years before resigning to continue in private practice as a physician until 1990. A pioneer in tobacco control, Dr Elphick was the founding President of the WA branch of Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) in November 1971; he continued to take a passionate and active role in the work of ACOSH for many years. Dr Elphick was awarded a CBE in 1978.
Dr Elphick provided active service to the Westcare organisation for over 50 years. He was a Life Member, Vice President of the Tuberculosis Association (later Tuberculosis and Chest Association/Westcare) from 1946 to 2000 and again in 2002. He was Chairman of Westcare’s Tuberculosis Advisory Committee until 2004 before passing away in 2005 aged 88 years. A Westcare group home for disabled people, the Dr Bob Elphick Respite House, was named in his honour.
Dr Alan King graduated in medicine from Melbourne University in 1935. He was three months into surgical specialist training in Edinburgh when World War II broke out in 1939, leading to cancellation of the surgery course. He returned to Australia and enlisted as a medical officer serving in Yugoslavia and Greece before being captured and spending four years in captivity in POW camps in Greece, Poland and Germany. He spent the majority of this time treating soldiers with tuberculosis in Germany, becoming very knowledgeable on the disease. After the war he was moved to England, was promoted to Major in the Army and continued to build his knowledge about tuberculosis before returning to Australia as the Army’s Principal Tuberculosis Medical Officer.
After leaving the army in 1947 Dr King joined the Tuberculosis Control Branch of the Public Health Services as State Tuberculosis Physician and shortly after joined the Tuberculosis Association of WA. He was instrumental in setting up the Perth Chest Clinic in 1948 and took over from Dr Linley Henzell as Director of Tuberculosis Control in 1950, holding the position for 10 years.
Dr King was heavily involved in the establishment of the Tuberculosis Association and the expansion of rehabilitation services to Perth with the purchase of the Federal Box Factory in 1950. He was a Vice President of the Association until 1960 when he relocated to Canberra to take up the post of Commonwealth Director of Tuberculosis. He returned to the Westcare organisation in the late 1990s as a member of the Tuberculosis Advisory Group. He received the Medal of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1998. Dr King lived until 2011 when he passed away at the age of 100 years. The Westcare Bassendean factory which opened in 1996 was named in his honour.
Dr Grey Edwards graduated in medicine from Melbourne University in 1947 and served his apprenticeship at the Fremantle General Hospital where he later became the Medical Superintendent. Dr Edwards commenced working with Dr Alan King at Perth Chest Clinic in 1953. A strong history in thoracic medicine led to him being appointed the WA Director of Tuberculosis in 1960, a position he held until retirement in 1975.
He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Tuberculosis Association from 1960 onwards and a Board Member of Westcare until 1997. His many decades of service included roles as Chairman of the Rehabilitation Team, member of the Florence Hummerston Hostel Committee and member of the Tuberculosis Advisory Group. He is remembered for steadfast support of all aspects of Westcare with a special interest in looking after the care and rehabilitation of employees. In 2002 a new wing of 10 self-contained units at the Florence Hummerston Hostel was named in his honour.
Mrs Joan Edwards, married to Dr Grey Edwards, was Vice President of the Tuberculosis Association Ladies Auxiliary and became President following the passing of Florence Hummerston in 1983. Mrs Edwards remained President until the Ladies Auxiliary was wound down in the early 1990s and provided dedicated service to the organisation over many years. She provided great leadership and was very active in fund raising for amenities to assist the rehabilitation of employees.
As well as her work with the Ladies Auxiliary, Mrs Edwards joined the Executive Committee of the Tuberculosis and Chest Association in 1985 and was a Board Member of Westcare until 1997. Following her retirement Mrs Edwards has continued to be a very strong supporter of the Westcare organisation.
Dr Dick Porter graduated in medicine from Melbourne University in 1944 and was a member of Wooroloo staff from 1956-1957 before joining the Perth Chest Clinic staff in 1958. He was appointed as Director of Perth Chest Clinic in 1975 and was State Director of Tuberculosis from 1975 to 1977. He had personal experience as a patient with tuberculosis which he suffered himself over a period of 20 years. This gave him a unique insight into the disease, having experienced most of the commoner forms of surgery, drug treatment, as well as years of bed rest. He was on the Executive Committee of the Tuberculosis and Chest Association from 1973 to 1988. He was later a member of the Tuberculosis Advisory Group of Westcare during the 1990s until his passing in 1999. In 2004 a new wing of 10 units at the Florence Hummerston Village was named in his honour at a celebration to mark the 25th anniversary of the village.
Group Captain Fergusson-Stewart served in the RAF during World War II. On returning to Australia he started his service with the Tuberculosis Association of WA. He performed a variety of roles over a 30 year period until his passing in October 1979. The 1979 annual report records that his devoted service to the Association over many years was an inspiration to all those who knew and loved him. He was variously a Life Member, was on the Executive Committee, Executive Director, Secretary, Councillor, Administrator, and Honorary Treasurer.
Miss Rickard originally started work at the Federal Cardboard Box Company as a 15 year old girl and stayed on when it was purchased by the TB Association. She was a forewoman in the sheltered workshop and taught the rehabilitees the art of covering the boxes with paper and other techniques of cardboard box making. She was a great help to the patients and was very fondly remembered as a very good boss. She eventually retired in 1974 at the age of 73. In 1985 two training units at the Florence Hummerston Village were named in her honour.
Dr Ken Carruthers graduated with a medical degree from London in 1949. He was Director of the Perth Chest Clinic from 1977 to 1980, continuing on from the work of Dr Grey Edwards and Dr Dick Porter before him. Dr Carruthers joined the Tuberculosis Association as a Councillor in 1961 and was on the Executive Committee for many years, later establishing the Rehabilitation Committee of FCB industries. He was Vice President of the Tuberculosis and Chest Association from 1983 to 1990 and President from 1991 to 1997. A Training Unit at Bedbrook Place was named in his honour in 1998.
Major Robert (Bob) Smith was an ex-sergeant of the 7th Field Ambulance who was engaged as a master printer by Dr Alan King when the printing works was initially established. He became manager of the FCB Industries from 1956 to 1973 and was regarded highly for his energetic management, great salesmanship and sympathetic understanding in dealing with rehabilitees. He stayed on with the association for many years in a voluntary capacity after his retirement and was a member of the Executive Committee from 1974 until 1992, including the last 8 years as Honorary Treasurer. The Carrington Street premises were renamed in 1996 as the Bob Smith building in his honour.
Mr Peter Wall was Vice President from 1965 to 1980 of the Tuberculosis and Chest Association and President from 1981 to 1990. His long term commitment to the organisation saw many of their plans for development become reality. A Training Unit at Bedbrook Place was named in his honour in 1998.
Mr Bill Hawkins was architect and designer of FCB Industries’ office and factory as well as the Florence Hummerston Hostel. He was on the Executive Committee of the Tuberculosis and Chest Association for many years from 1961 to 1983 and was Vice-President from 1981 until his passing in 1983. He was remembered as having breadth of vision and sense of humour which always added a pleasant flavour to Board meetings. The Administration and Dining Room at Florence Hummerston Hostel were named in his honour.
Mr Victor Smith was Executive Director from 1974 until he was forced to retire in 1979 due to ill health. Following his retirement he remained on with the organisation in a voluntary capacity as Honorary Treasurer and Councillor until his passing in 1983.
Victor dedicated his life to the service of disabled people and was held in very high esteem for his contribution to the objectives and workings of the Association. One of the original residential blocks at Florence Hummerston Hostel (A Block) was named in his honour.
Mr Richard (Dick) Howell was admitted as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia in 1955 and made a fellow in 1961. He was a Senior Partner in Touch Ross Australia (later merged with KPMG) practising Audit, Tax Law and Management Accounting. He was a Councillor of the State Branch of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for 4 years and a member of the Board of Royal Perth Hospital for 4 years.
Richard provided decades of dedicated service, leadership and commitment to the Board and staff of Westcare. He was to become a champion of the acquisition and subsequent development of the Westcare property at Bassendean during the 1990s. Richard was on the Executive Committee of the Tuberculosis and Chest Association (later Westcare) from 1989 to 2001 and 2007 to 2017, during which time he was Vice President from 1992 to 1996 and President from 1996 to 1998.
Ms Sue Morey is a leading figure in her profession as a nurse practitioner in the Department of Respiratory Medicine at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. Ms Morey has worked in nursing since 1973 and graduated from Edith Cowan University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Health Science in Nursing. She is the longest serving registered nurse at SCGH with over 40 years of continuous service.
In 2003 Sue was recipient of the Olive Anstey Nurse of the Year award and in 2004 was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for her efforts and commitment to respiratory medicine nursing. In 2016 Sue was awarded the City of Nedlands Freeman of the City Award. She has been a Board Member of Westcare since 1996, Vice President from 2000 to 2016, and President from 2017 to 2019.
Mr Gordon White, an architect, was in private practice for many years specialising in health care developments. He was a consultant to the Health Department of WA for Private Hospital Developments. Gordon sat on many sub-committees in Westcare and was heavily involved in the design and construction of the Bassendean site and Florence Hummerston Village extensions. He was a Board member of Westcare from 1995 to 2008, was President from 1998 to 2000 and from 2002 to 2005.
Mr Tony Milne was a senior partner with Kott Gunning legal firm, heading the Private Client Services Section of the firm. He has over 35 years experience in dealing with the claims and the needs of people with a disability. Over the years Tony’s input to Westcare has spanned a range of issues from disability concerns, land purchase and development, to his invaluable legal advice on Westcare’s land titles and Homeswest Joint Venture issues at The Florence Hummerston Village. He was a Board Member of Westcare from 1995 to 2019.
Mrs Reid has voluntarily dedicated much of her life to community service and is the wife of the late Gordon Reid who was Western Australian Governor from 1984 to 1989. She has received many awards for her service to a wide range of community organisations in WA. She was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1998. In 2016 Mrs Reid was awarded the City of Nedlands Freeman of the City Award in recognition of outstanding achievements and dedicated service to the community. She is also a Freeman of the City of London and City of Perth. Mrs Reid was a Board Member of Westcare from 1997 to 2006.
Mrs Levalds worked as a teacher prior to returning to University to study Social Work. After graduating from Curtin in 1981, Elizabeth worked for 7 years with Huntington’s disease families at the Neurosciences Unit. She was appointed Social Work Supervisor at the State Head Injury Unit in 1987. Mrs Levalds was a Board Member of Westcare from 1992 until she passed away in 2005.
Mr Brian Brand had a background in education with a special interest in the disability sector and worked in a number of not-for-profit organisations in Perth to enhance opportunities for people with disabilities. At various stages in his time with Westcare he provided consultancy on a variety of issues and also gave years of service to many sub-committees and groups within the organisation. He was Vice President of Westcare from 2003 to 2006 and was a long serving Board member from 1993 until his passing in 2008.
Mr Alan Tough graduated with engineering and business degrees from UWA and was a visionary, an entrepreneur, orator and natural leader of people. He undertook RAAF pilot training and worked in a number of countries across the globe in the engineering, mining, commercial, development, scientific and government fields. Alan suffered tuberculosis as a child and spent many months on enforced bedrest in hospital.
Joining Westcare in 2002, his aspiration was for Westcare to be a valued business and provide meaningful work for people with disabilities to enable them to feel valued and important contributors to the organisation. Alan was President of Westcare from 2005 until his passing in November 2016. He was awarded an OAM in 2016 for services to the sport of sailing and community service to people with disabilities.
Mr Irvin Phillips had a distinguished career in special education having served 33 years as an education support school principal. During this time he was initially in charge of Kellerberrin Special School and for the remainder of his career was Principal of Kensington Secondary School. Over that period he participated in many initiatives and developments in the disability education field. Mr Phillips joined the Board of Westcare in July 2003 and was a big contributor to the development of the organisation. He remained a dedicated Board member for 16 years until his passing in June 2019.