Kalyra Heights Village History
In 1987, Trustee Les Davis saw the potential for James Brown Memorial Trust to develop a retirement village co-located with its Kalyra Nursing Home and Hostels at Belair. He met with and outlined his thoughts to other forward thinking Trustees, Mr Brian Waite and Mr Derek Wilsen, and subsequently a Project Control Group was formed to develop the concept, with the assistance of marketing and financial specialists. However, it was not until 1990 before the Trust began to address the project in earnest.
Joint venturing with developers was initially considered, however the Trust decided to go it alone and called tenders for architects and project managers. At the same time the Trust’s Private Act of Parliament was amended by the South Australian State Parliament in 1990 to ensure that a retirement village was covered by this Act.
Woodhead Australia was appointed as the architect/project management firm, with Mr Vin Keneally being the principal contact. This was followed by two years of discussions over the building and project management contracts, causing frustrations amongst those who were keen to see it proceed. Eventually the project was formally approved by the Trust in January 1992 and Mitcham Council approval was given following a planning appeal process.
The Trust agreed to fund the first stage of its Kalyra Heights Retirement Village to the sum of $750,000 and a contract was let to Warburton Builders. Stage 1 construction commenced in 1992 on what was then the Trust’s car park on the southern side of Gloucester Avenue, Belair. Interestingly, the choosing of this site caused concerns for nearby residents who were using it to park their own cars and catching the bus to work in the city.
Building problems were experienced because it was discovered that the car park was built over a pig farm and rubbish tip of the original Kalyra TB Sanatorium in the early 1900s and consequently the land had no surface stability upon which to build. Mr Vin Keneally came up with the solution of pile driving piers into the ground, using surplus cast iron ocean oil drilling pipes. These were driven some 10 to 20 metres into the earth until they found bedrock and then filled with concrete upon which the cement raft floors were built. Similar pipes were used in subsequent stages where required.
The first six Villas were completed and successfully licensed in 1993, with prices being between $125,000 and $130,000. This was the beginning of successive stages being built over the ensuring years, with the final stage of 19 Villa Apartments being constructed in 2006 from the vacated Kalyra Hostels, giving a total of 105 Villas for the site. One of the stages involved demolition in 2000 of the former Nurse and Staff quarters for the previous Kalyra Hospital and replacing these with 10 Villa Apartments.
A house was acquired in 1995 at 42 Gloucester Avenue on the eastern boundary of Kalyra, Belair for $73,500 to enable the construction of a Village caravan parking area and a Village workshop, plus the possible construction of an additional Villa. The house was demolished in 1996, and the caravan parking area was constructed. This was followed by a Residents’ Workshop being built on the block, which was officially opened by Chairman Les Davis in 2002.
Also a Village Centre was constructed in 1996 as an extension of the Goode Wing, at a cost of $650,000. This excellent facility, which provides a range of activity rooms for use by Village residents, was officially opened on June 10th, 1997 by His Excellency, Sir Eric Neal AC CVO, Governor of South Australia. The Village Centre was expanded to provide additional activity areas in 2003, making it one of the most attractive Village facilities in the State.
The opportunity was taken to recognise valuable contributors to the Trust over the years by naming the internal roads of the Village after them. The names chosen were Davis Avenue (Trustee and past Chairman Mr L J Davis), Jessie Brown Avenue (James Brown Memorial Trust’s benefactress), Lawson Court (Past Trustee/Chairman Dr W S Lawson), Wilsen Court (Past Trustee Mr F T Wilsen), Butler Court (Trustee J C Butler) and Keneally Court (Architect/Project Manager for Kalyra Heights Retirement Village).
Kalyra Heights Retirement Village has continued to provide a beautiful and tranquil environment for independent aged care living, plus a source of funds independent of Governments to support the Trust’s charitable works.