Friday, 24 February 2023
Romani Aged Care Facility Official Opening
I am delighted to be with you in Murray Bridge today to officially open the $22 million Romani Aged Care Facility.
I am particularly honoured to do so in my capacity not only as Governor of South Australia but as patron of the RSL SA, Northern Territory and Broken Hill and as a Life Member.
Thank you all for the warm welcome.
Rod and I have visited various regions in South Australia in the past 18 months and each time we have been struck by the deep sense of family and community in this State.
This is also much evidenced by the mateship and community spirit that burns bright within the RSL.
Last year I was impressed by the obvious local pride in Murray Bridge and its contribution to the State as I visited the council, witnessed the All Abilities Festival and viewed the showgrounds and Sturt Reserve.
That spirit came to the fore again when Rod and I returned to inspect preparations for the Murray River floods and recognise the outstanding work being undertaken by the community and the SES as river levels rose.
That sense of giving to the community is at the heart of why the Romani Aged Care Facility has been built; for it is often said that a society is judged by how it cares for its most vulnerable.
This facility is a welcome addition to services available in the region and I look forward to touring the building shortly.
It is never easy for families to decide that the best care for their elderly parents or grandparents is within an aged care facility.
Yet there is comfort in knowing their loved ones will be well looked after in a place that offers impressive accommodation, services and enrichment.
As our population continues to age, the need to find suitable living accommodation for all becomes pressing. I commend RSL Care SA for helping to meet a broader and emerging need in the spirit of supporting the community.
Through its name, this facility is an enduring memorial to those who bravely fought in the pivotal World War I battle of Romani, as well as a tangible example of the caring for its veterans and wider community that is at the heart of the RSL.
The names of the three wings: Beersheba, Taffy and Chauvel provide a link to the Australian Light Horse Brigades that heroically fought in the First World War.
And, on this, the National Day for War Animals, or Purple Poppy Day, we also honour the story of an unlikely Light horse hero, Bill, the steed with an unflattering name.
Bill’s story is fascinating, one of courage, of trust, of finding the moment of true calling when others don’t have much faith in one’s abilities. Of being there at a critical time when needed.
After opening the Romani Aged Care Facility, I will be honoured to unveil alongside Terry Shanahan, Ty Manning’s statue of Bill and Terry’s grandfather, Major Michael Shanahan.
I hope that Bill’s story will be told repeatedly as one of the many stories that pay tribute to those whose courage and service has made Australia what it is today.
In that regard, I thank RSL Care SA for its contribution to the South Australian community for more than 100 years.
I also congratulate the South Australian builders Schiavello and architects Walter Brooke for completing the Romani project in 18 months, overcoming construction challenges arising from COVID-19, and the unusually wet period delaying construction.
I wish the staff, the first 19 residents and those to come, many happy times here and it gives me great pleasure to declare the Romani Aged Care Facility open.