Following PNG’s independence on 16th September 1975, a large number of PNG Chinese migrated to Brisbane.
In the years that followed many informal gatherings were organized. The aim then was to meet old friends and acquaintances. The most popular function was a family sports day. We would hire a Sports Centre, the young people played tennis or squash, while the oldies sat around and talked or enjoyed a game or two of mahjong. Lunch usually took the form of a BBQ, so the ladies played an important role in preparing the food.
The Cathay Club was formally incorporated on 26th March 1981. The first few years were centred round the recreational needs of members and friends. In the late 70s, there was a big influx of Asian migrants, most were refugees and they were having real struggles to settle into a new way of life here in Australia. Our altruistic feelings came to the surface when we decided to apply to the Department of Immigration for a grant to help these migrants. This was successful, so in April 1984 the Club set up a small office in the Valley and employed a social worker whose main job was to assist the migrants in all areas of settlement. In those days the Department of Immigration named this project “Grant in Aid”.
This grant proved to be a real bonus to the Chinese migrants. Over the years we have helped innumerable families to make the successful transition to a new society. Unfortunately, we no longer have this funding as the Department is targeting African refugees.
As our community work evolved
… we realized that the seniors in our community were being neglected. Queensland Health at that time was thinking along the same line and was willing to use us as a pilot project under the Home & Community Care project (HACC). The outcome was a successful collaboration for all concerned. Commencing with six clients in 1989, today we service nearly 400 clients requiring the assistance of 45 part-time Home Care Providers.
We also have the Community Care Package Programme which is similar to HACC. They receive more hours of service but in turn, have to make extra financial contributions. The demand for services continues to grow and service output has also remained responsive to the changing needs of the community. The type of service provided re diverse in order to maintain its relevancy to clients’ needs. The very positive feedback from our clients and the community indicate that we are fulfilling a very real need. We are indebted to Stephanie Lee one of our earlier Program Managers who had developed an outstanding program. Its success has been a tribute to her great organizational ability & foresight.
One of our most promising programs was the Community Development Project which was funded by Jupiter’s Casino. The worker developed contacts and various activities to give the old people opportunities to get out and try something different. The introduction of computers to seniors is still going strong in 2014. This was initially carried out at various Council Libraries. Brisbane City Council was keen to ensure that citizens from ethnic communities were not left behind in the computer age. We negotiated an agreement to set up a computer centre at our Valley premises. In May 2003, we accepted our first students. They have learnt to surf the net. The most popular past time is reading Chinese Newspapers, playing card games and corresponding with relatives overseas. So if any seniors are interested in learning about computers or the internet please phone to find out when the next course commences.
The purchase and renovation of our new property at Coopers Plains was successfully completed in December. So now we have a place we can call home. Being less than Ten minutes drive from Sunnybank we hope you will be able to participate in the many activities being planned activities.
So now that we are at the end of this road
I have to acknowledge and thank all those people who have helped us arrive at this moment in our history. There are far too many to mention by name. Each in their own way, whether big or small have contributed to our success and helped to build up our Home & Age Care Programs.
To all those founding citizens who took the initiative to form the Club & then incorporate it. The first Management Committee laid the groundwork that we have been following. The wording on our banner says it all – Serving the Community. We do this mainly by assisting our seniors through the Home Care Program. We always keep in mind the need to be involved in the wider community. That is why we support the Queensland Chinese Forum, which is an umbrella group of some sixteen Chinese organizations with similar aims. To the many staff who have worked for us, both past & present, their dedication & expertise to assist our Seniors has kept Cathay CA at the forefront of the Age Care Industry.
Of course, I must make mention of the countless Volunteers who have served us. Many go about their allotted task without any fanfare. Many of the jobs are fairly mundane and yet if it was not done there would be hiccups at a higher level.
I must also mention our Members & Life Members your support is always appreciated.
So whoever you are and where ever you are, our deepest thanks for your contribution & support. We look forward to your involvement in making our new centre at 71 Annie St Coopers Plains a happy and vibrant one for all to enjoy.