Tenterfield resident Colin George Mann has received the Order of Australia for his service to aged welfare over 30 years.
From 1989 to 2018, Mr Mann led the community towards providing hostel and nursing home care under what's now known as Tenterfield Care Centre, so the aged and infirm could remain here, close to their family and friends.
Mr Mann was chair of the funding committees for Millrace Aged Care Hostel (1988-1991) and Haddington Nursing Home (1999-2003); president of the management committee from 1988 to 2009; and chair and director of Tenterfield Care Centre from 2009 to 2018.
Mr Mann was presented the 2017 Recognition Award for Service to the Community in 2017. "It is quite possible that without [Col Mann's] determination and courage, Tenterfield would not have either of the aged care facilities currently provided for our aged community members," chief executive officer Terry Dodds told council.
The move to establish an aged-care hostel and a nursing home in Tenterfield began in the 1980s. Then-CEO of the Prince Albert Memorial Hospital Doug Tinge realised that grant funds were available for aged care hostels. At that time, New England Health considered closing the aged care section of the local hospital, and relocating its patients to aged care homes away from Tenterfield.
To prevent Tenterfield aged care residents from being sent outside the local area, the community applied for grant funding, and formed a committee in 1988 to raise the local funds needed to support the grant funding and establish the facility. Mr Mann was elected chairman. The committee raised thousands of dollars for the project.
Millrace Aged Care Hostel, the Care Centre's first project, opened in March 1991. It cost $1.1 million, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Community Services and Health ($508,840), Tenterfield Shire Council ($200,000), and the Tenterfield community itself ($300,000). An extension in 1991 added 13 places to the original 22 beds, and six self-care units were added in 1997.
The construction of the Haddington Nursing Home followed, opening with 30 beds in 2003.
The state government first opened Tenterfield a multi-purpose service that would combine the hospital, Millrace Hostel, Home and Community Care Services, and any other health care services, to be administered by New England Health with all assets reverting to this body.
Tenterfield Care Centre rejected the offer, and was warned it would have to accept full responsibility for its decision. This meant Tenterfield would have to arrange care for nursing home classified patients itself.
Thanks to Mr Mann and his committee's success with Millrace, the Commonwealth Government transferred the capital funding for an 18-bed nursing home facility from the state MPS to them.
A 16 bed extension was added in 2008, and the home is now fully occupied.
Tenterfield Care Centre is still community owned, and all members and directors are volunteers.
"[Haddington] would never have occurred without Col Mann," Cr Bronwyn Petrie said. "When I first came here 33 years ago, Col Mann told me, 'Anything that we want to have in Tenterfield, we have to fight for'."