The story of ACH Group
Download: The Story of ACH Group [pdf]
Learn more about ACH Group history
- Milestones over seven decades
- The legacy of John Pitchford, first general manager and fifth employee
- Reflection on being a purpose-led organisation and the importance of having meaningful roles
- Building with impact and the importance of design principles for residential homes to be centred around creating a more home-like and less institutionalised environment
- Bringing home care home
- The future of cross-sector partnerships and connected communities
2022 marked our 70th birthday
Happy birthday to us!
Have a look how we celebrated the milestone, reflecting on the past and present, and looking to the future.
Sir Keith Wilson was the founder and first Chairman of ACH Group (or as it was formerly known, Aged Cottages Homes).
In his 20s, Sir Keith developed an interest in housing and services for those less fortunate, which he identified as including War Veterans and War Widows experiencing homelessness.
He championed the campaign to raise funds to build homes for older people and the first Aged Cottage Homes were completed in Payneham in 1954.
Sir Keith’s work inspired movement at a federal level with the Aged Persons Homes Act 1954 introduced by the Menzies’ government.
Every day ACH Group staff follow in the footsteps of the organisation’s trailblazing founder, continuing to work in innovative ways and support older people to live and age well.
There are endless stories, and below are three moments we’re sharing today.
1. In December 1952, Mr and Mrs Bird transferred five blocks of land located on Wear Avenue, Marden – in Adelaide’s east – to the Chairman of Aged Cottage Homes, Sir Keith Wilson. It was on this land some of the first cottage homes for older people were built.
2. As part of the 1988 tour of Australia with Prince Charles, Princess Diana visited residents of West Park Residential Care Home in Goolwa.
3. In 2016, we made a song and dance at Adelaide Airport and pulled off a singing flash mob to shine light on the wisdom of older people. The mob included a former Premier, notable SA businesspeople, and the ACH Group Sing for Joy choir.
Today, ACH Group’s dedicated workforce of more than 2000 staff and 150 volunteers support over 20,000 older South Australians to live a good life.
One staff member is Carolyn Zuccolo who works in the Customer Service Centre.
Here’s Carolyn’s memories of ACH Group.
“My first memory of ACH Group was when I was a toddler, about 55 years ago, when I lived in Magill and Aged Cottage Homes built residential units right behind my family home.
“My mum told me that I used to sneak through the fence and go to visit the lovely ladies living in the units. One was a Scottish lady, she used to give me a drink and cookie and then let my mum know where I was. Those units were there for most of my childhood.
“I first started working at ACH Group around 11 years ago in Respite Care at Royston Park. Then about four years ago I got another job within ACH Group in the Customer Service Centre. I love helping customers every day on the phone with their enquiries, requests and hearing their life stories.”
ACH Group’s purpose is to support older people to live good lives – where customers and residents feel in control, unique, healthy, optimistic, that they belong and are contributing to their community.
What does a good life mean to you?
A few years ago, we asked members of the public this question, tune in to see their responses.
ACH Group has been a pioneer in developing new models of care. We enjoy partnerships with universities and like-minded organisations to engage in Australian-first research projects where findings make a real difference in our service design and delivery.
In the coming years, we look forward to opening Healthia – a state-of-the-art residential care home – which also features unique partnerships with UniSA, the local council and health network to benefit older people, students and the community.
Sir Keith Wilson, a Senator for South Australia from 1938 to 1944, and Federal Member for Sturt from 1949 to 1966, was the founder and first Chairman of ACH Group (formerly known as Aged Cottage Homes).
Every day ACH Group staff proudly follow in the footsteps of the organisation’s trailblazing founder, continuing to work in innovative ways and support older people to live and age well.
ACH Group is now one of Australia’s leading aged care organisations, employing more than 2000 staff, and supporting more than 20,000 older people in South Australia to live a good life.
Earlier in 2022 the ACH Group community was asked to nominate what could be included in the capsule.
Here are the selected items which will be re-discovered in 30 years’ time when the time capsule is opened to mark ACH Group’s 100th birthday!