Author Archives: BHAG Inc.

BHAG receives funding for a Patient Wellness Garden

Bellingen Shire Council provides up to $5,000 annually from the Environmental Levy Community Fund for projects to be undertaken by the Community to improve/restore the Environment on Public Land.

The Bellinger Health Action Group Inc. (BHAG) successfully applied for funding ($5,000) in August of 2014 to Landscape the areas surrounding the new Sub-Acute Wing at Bellingen Hospital.  The name of our project is the PATIENT WELLNESS GARDEN.

PWG Concept Design

PWG Concept Design

The garden(s) will be a unique and sustainable environment integrating the adjacent Arboretum and the new Rehabilitation & Palliative care Sub-Acute Wing.  This external area may assist in improving the health outcome for patients at BRDH and by providing a location for family & visitors to be with their loved ones outside the clinical wards.

This large project is managed by BHAG.  We have invited 7 other Community service organisations to participate:

PWG Gazebo - Draft Plan

PWG Gazebo – Draft Plan

  • Bellingen Lions Club with assistance from Grahame Maddeford’s Bobcat, will roughly spread mulch, lift & relocate old brick pavers for recycling; undertake some minor ground works to manage erosion & prepare the site for a concrete slab for the Gazebo Shelter. The Lions Club will undertake many other works including funding & constructing the Gazebo & associated furniture providing a much needed Rest & Rehabilitation area for patients as a memorial to Carl Foster.
  • Bellingen Rotary Club will assist in many works such as manually spreading mulch, stacking the recycled brick pavers on pallets etc.
  • Free Masons – Raleigh Lodge – will donate plants for the gardens.
  • Australian Plant Society will donate plants for the gardens & assist with planting.
  • Bellingen High School will decorate the Bird Bath with an indigenous mosaic design.
  • Bellinger River District Rose & Garden Club will donate plants for the gardens & assist with planting.
  • Bellinger Valley VIEW Club will assist with planting.
  • The Bellinger River District Hospital (Mid North Coast Local Health District) will construct the Concrete Slab & the disable access path for the Gazebo & assist in many other areas of the project.
  • Local artists have been invited to donate Sculptures to enhance the gardens. These will be located under a deep eave & surrounded by an arid garden.
  • The BHAG Volunteer Gardening Group will remove all environmental weeds, propagate many of the plants & assisted by the above organisations spread mulch & plant nearly 3,000 plants from 55 different species. This will create a sustainable bio-diverse ecosystem that will encourage local fauna in an area of the hospital that is devoid of bird & insect life.

Due to the proximity to the hospital buildings all the plants will be Fire resistant/retardant & drought tolerant.  Ground Covers & prostrate compact plants have been chosen to create low maintenance & well designed gardens of 10 separate zones.

PWG Site Plan with Zones

PWG Site Plan with Zones

  • Zone 1: A furnished Gazebo & Disable access path; Mosaic decorated Bird Bath; Border plantings of Lomandra. to define the edges & mitigate erosion surrounded by a mulched ‘mosaic’ garden of colourful flowering plants.
  • Zone 2: A small Raised Garden Bed on Gravel Mulch where herbs & seasonal food can be grown surrounded by a beautiful mulched garden with border edge planting of Lomandra.
  • Zone 3: A mulched garden of mass planted Hibiscus continuing the existing plantings, Mona Lavender & Ground Covers.
  • Zone 4: A mulched garden of Ground Cover’s, Bromeliad’s & the location for the Dr George Hewitt Memorial ‘Wollemi Pine’.
  • Zone 5: Gravel mulched ‘Arid’ garden displaying various donated Sculptures.
  • Zone 6: A mulched garden of compact shrubs & ground covers with border edge planting of Lomandra.
  • Zone 7: Gravel mulched garden of Native Pigface around the LPG & Water Tanks & possibly a Frog Pond.
  • Zone 8: A mulched garden of Ground cover’s & Bromeliad’s with border edge planting of Lomandra.
  • Zone 9: A mulched garden of compact flowering plants.
  • Zone 10: Gravel mulched ‘open’ planted garden of succulents.
Grahame Maddeford at work

Grahame Maddeford at work

After 2 postponements our 1st major activity was finally held on a sunny dry day – 17th of February.  The first activity can be viewed on the Gardening Group’s blog  and further progress activities will be posted throughout the year.  Just click on the Patient Wellness Garden  link.  The project will conclude in early December this year.

Plants Propagated by BHAG – Freebies !!

Plants being propagated for the PWG

Plants being propagated for the PWG

Barb Moore has been busy propagating plants by the 100’s in readiness for Autumn and Spring plantings. See more photos on the Gardening Group’s blog.

Plants Purchased from Grant Funds

We have placed an order with Colin Broadfoot (Boggy Creek Natives) for 100 native plants & he is generously donating an additional 140 plants to assist us.

 Follow the BHAG Gardeners Blog to receive PWG updates in the coming months

Official Opening of the Sub-Acute Wing …

BHAG was invited to the official opening of the new Sub-acute wing on the 18th of December 2014.  The $5.3million, 14 bed Rehabilitation & Palliative Care wards have been occupied for some months however the wing was now to be officially opened.

Melinda Pavey (State National Party Candidate) & Warren Grimshaw (Chairman of the MNCLHD Board)

Melinda Pavey (State National Party Candidate) & Warren Grimshaw (Chairman of the MNCLHD Board)

In 2009/10 the staff & Doctors at Bellingen Hospital had successfully applied for funding to construct a Sub-Acute facility. Under the Prime Ministership of Kevin Rudd the then Federal Labour Government $3million was awarded.  Further funds in excess of $2million were sought from the NSW State Coalition Government to enable the preferred design concept & services to be completed providing our hospital with a ‘State of the Art’ facility that the local Network of hospitals (Coffs Harbour, Dorrigo, Macksville & Bellingen) uses to Rehabilitate sub-acute patients after they have recovered from their acute health state ready for discharge to either their home or a care facility.  Palliative patients are also treated in this new wing.

When Bellingen Hospital was built in 1903 it opened with 6 beds.  In 1927 this increased to 20 beds & in 1936 additional wards’ were built & by 1941 there were 44 beds & 22 staff.  By 1943/44 the bed numbers were reported to be between 44-46 plus 4 bassinettes & 32 staff. In 1945 it was reported that there were 50 patients however it is unclear where they were located though it is known that patients were located on the verandas.

At some stage the bed numbers reduced to 43 & then early in 1994 they were reduced to 41 & by 1999 there were only 33 beds.

Bellingen Hospital now has 47 beds however one (bed 18 in Hartley House) is currently used as a store room.  It was a purpose built paediatric ward however when paediatric services were removed from the hospital many years ago it was no longer utilised.  Some years ago BHAG wrote to the Chief Executive regarding re-instating it as a bed due to its location adjacent to the Nurses Station however we have had no response.

During the ceremony Alex Floyd was invited to unveil the Wollemi Pine memorial tree that will be planted in memory of Dr George Hewitt.  Alex worked with Dr Hewitt during the planting of the Arboretum & it was Alex who documented the comprehensive lists & plans of every tree in the Arboretum.

Melinda Pavey & Alex Floyd unveiling the Wollemi Pine

Melinda Pavey & Alex Floyd unveiling the Wollemi Pine

There were of course the expected speeches from Mayor Mark Troy, Melinda Pavey MLC (standing in for Luke Hartsuyker local Federal MP), Warren Grimshaw (Chairman of the Board) & Stewart Dowrick (CE for the MNCLHD).

There were many Community Organisation such as the Bellingen Lions & the Hospital Auxiliary/Pink Ladies present & Pauline Murphy & I attended on behalf of BHAG.  We were rather ‘chuffed’ to listen to the words of Warren Grimshaw & Stewart Dowrick when they both acknowledged the extraordinary work our Bellingen Community does for the hospital & in particular how BHAG maintains a state of ‘constructive criticism’.

The Board & CE are regularly praising the work of our passionate community & stating that Bellingen Hospital is now a State of the Art facility with a solid future.  This is a major turn-a-round from where it stood in late 2009/early 2010.

The completed Sub-Acute Wing

The completed Sub-Acute Wing

When the application for funding was submitted BHAG was proactive & embarrassing many in high places.  We were advised by certain parties that Bellingen Hospital received the grant to calm us (the community) down. Therefore BHAG cannot take the praise for the new wing however if we had not been the ‘squeaky wheel’ at the time who knows what our future would have been.

Barb Moore (President BHAG)

Bellingen Sub-Acute article 31st December 2014

Bellingen Sub-Acute opens

Bellingen Sub-Acute opens

We did it – our Bellingen Hospital has a new roof …

After years of requests & discussions with senior executives failing to achieve a commitment to re-roof the leaking roofs on Hewitt Block & Hartley House at Bellingen Hospital BHAG stepped up the pressure in 2013.

During a Special General Meeting of BHAG Financial Members on the 27th Feb 2013 a motion was successfully moved & declared that $35,000 of existing donated funds be allocated towards re-roofing the hospital.

Your BHAG Committee commenced a massive Public & Political (Local, State & Federal) awareness & Fundraising campaign (lead by Pauline Murphy) stating the failure of senior executives in the Health Service to undertake routine maintenance at Bellingen Hospital (decades of neglect) regarding the state of the leaking roofs.  No longer was it appropriate to fill the holes with more Silicone – the solution now was to replace the roofs, flashings, gutters & downpipes etc.

Raffle tickets were sold, donations gratefully received & our Petition to the NSW State Government signed by nearly 3,000 people.

Silk Scarf donated by Leonie Cooper Squires raised $500

Silk Scarf donated by Leonie Cooper Squires raised $500

Black Angus Heifer “Roof-Fuss” donated by Maida Bugg & prepared by  Kevin Aitken Bellingen Butchery raised $4,500

Black Angus Heifer “Roof-Fuss” donated by Maida Bugg & prepared by
Kevin Aitken Bellingen Butchery raised $4,500

20th of July 2013 the petition was received by our local MP’s Andrew Fraser & Andrew Stoner with a verbal commitment ‘The 2 Andrews Commit to 2 new Roofs at Bellingen Hospital’.  Those present were elated as they were on record (televised on the NBN News that night).

Local businesses, individuals & Community Service Organisations were also very generous with individual donations varying from small change to $1,000.  Over $13,543 was raised including interest earned throughout the campaign where the initial fund of $35,000 grew to $48,543 in just over 5 months.

It took some time but on the 21st October 2013 BHAG received written confirmation from the Mid North Coast Local Health District that The Board had allocated funds from their 2013/14 budget to replace the roofs & associated flashings etc. on Hewitt Block & Hartley House.  The works commenced in November 2013 with re-roofing the Emergency Department initially & then the remainder of the roof on Hewitt Block which was completed around March 2014.  The roof on Hartley House followed and was completed in June 2014. BHAG arranged an independent inspection by Rodney Hicks (Hicks Plumbing & Drainage).

The Mid North Coast Local Health District acknowledged the passionate commitment of the community of the Bellingen Shire during a morning tea celebration at Bellingen Hospital on the 8th of October 2014 when we donated $48,543 towards the cost to re-roof.  The total cost to re-roof (excluding gutter guard & GST) was $348,879.75.

As president I would like to say thank you to the Chief Executive (Stewart Dowrick), Board & Chairman (Warren Grimshaw) of the Mid North Coast Local health District; the staff & Doctors at Bellingen Hospital; past & present committee members of BHAG in particular the ‘Funraising’ committee (aptly named by Gai Stern); Bellingen Shire Councillors; our local Members of Parliament and our entire community.  Without this united support the staff would still be supervising the ‘bucket brigade’ at Bellingen Hospital during heavy rain events.

I wonder how many other communities have been successful in campaigning to undertake this scope of works in their local public hospital!  This is not the first time that our community have had to fund major capital works.  In 1925 the roof of the isolation ward was leaking.  It had been built by the Dept. of Public Works & they refused to repair it.  The Bellingen community had to foot the bill.  There appears to be a theme here!

Well done Bello,

Barb Moore (president BHAG Inc.)


BHAG Press Release – Stone & Fraser Roof Commitment

The History of our Leaking Roofs

Barb Moore’s Presentation 08 October 2014

Roof Donation Morning Tea 8 Oct 2014 C. Sun front page

BHAG 2014 AGM & President’s Report

Bellinger Health Action Group Inc. 2014 AGM and New Website

The 2014 AGM was held on the 30th July 2014.

All the positions on the Committee were filled with the exception of the Vice President and this position remains unfilled.  I welcome 2 new members onto the 2014/15 Committee – John Conway and Charlotte Blesing.

President: Barbara Moore
Public Officer: Fenella Briscomb
Secretary: Fenella Briscomb
Treasurer: John Conway
Committee Members: Shirley Dunne, Charlotte Blesing and Pauline Murphy.
Consultant VMO: Dr Cain English

If you are a current financial member of BHAG Inc. and you would like to nominate for the position of Vice President would you please contact Barbara Moore on 02 6655 1898 (leave a message on the answering machine) or 0427 551 898.  The Vice President’s position is not onerous with the committee meeting 4 times a year with the occasional but rare extraordinary meeting called if an urgent matter arises.

If you are not a current financial member and would like to nominate for this position it is only $2.00 for lifetime membership.  Please contact Barbara Moore to make the necessary arrangements.

We have a new website that is managed by one of our Committee members so that all current news items and activities of BHAG Inc. are reported promptly.

It may look similar however it is using a WordPress format and now has an additional ‘Link’ to the Volunteer Gardening Group website so that you can view the amazing works they do at Bellingen Hospital.  Watch that site as we commence a new Landscaping Project – the ‘Patient Wellness Garden’.  This project involves multiple Community Organisations such as Bellingen Lions and Rotary to name a couple.

The Minutes and Presidents report of the 2014 AGM are able to be viewed or printed on this new and updated website by clicking on the attachment below.

Presidents Report AGM 2013-2014 30th July 2014

Minutes of BHAG AGM 30 July 2014

On behalf of the 2014/15 committee I would like to say ‘Thank You’ to our amazing community for your on-going support.  We continue to represent your voice at all levels of Government and at the senior level of management of the Mid North Coast Local Health District and locally at Bellingen Hospital.

Yours in “SOS Bellingen Hospital”

Barbara Moore
(President BHAG Inc.)


Local MPs to receive Roofing Petition


Everyone in the community is invited to attend the handover of the petition of nearly 3,000 signatures to our local MP’s The Hon. Andrew Stoner & Mr Andrew Fraser at 12.15pm this Saturday the 20th of July outside the Library in Maam Gaduying (Council) Park. Continue to demonstrate your support to replace the leaking roofs at our hospital with a poster (we will have some or we welcome you to make your own).

This will be the third time in 5 years that we have petitioned the NSW Government to preserve & support our local hospital.

Our community has raised $46,953 to contribute towards the cost of re-roofing with $11,953 raised in the past 4 months. This is a phenomenal effort by a small community. The Bellingen IGA Community Benefit program recently raised $112 & “Roof-Fuss” our Black Angus raised $4,480 alone & we wish to thank our chief fundraiser Pauline (photographed) for her amazing effort with this fundraiser.

BHAG needs to find a new home to display our Posters, Thermometer of funds raised & the Honour role of donors. If you have window space available in your business would you please contact Barbara Moore on 66551898.

We are still waiting for Mr Stewart Dowrick to reply to our last letter of 24th May where we requested a written guarantee that he will allocate funds to replace the leaking roofs on both Hewitt Block & Hartley House.

We have received a written reply from The Hon. Jillian Skinner MP (NSW State Health Minister) however she did not offer any additional funds. She has advised us that Mr Dowrick is seeking an updated costing to replace the roofs with a view for funding to be allocated in the 2013/14 financial year and that Physical Resources will continue to monitor any areas of concern during heavy rain to minimise disruption to services.

It would appear that the health service is taking this matter more seriously than has been the case in the past. So thank you to everyone who continues to support this project. The voice of the people with the squeaky wheel is a formidable force. Well done.

Barbara Moore (President BHAG Inc.) 10/07/2013

$500 closer to Re-Roofing Bellingen Hospital

Our generous community continues to support the Bellinger Health Action Group’s campaign to replace the leaking rooves at Bellingen Hospital.

Last week we received a donation of $500.00 from the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of NSW Inc. Bellingen Branch (CPSA). In the words of the association’s President/Secretary Cherie Hartwig “I can assure you that the Bellingen Seniors (CPSA) did not hesitate in donating $500 for the project and certainly appreciate the efforts involved in continuing to keep Bellingen Hospital functional and available to the community. Fully agree ….that the situation is ‘disgraceful’”. This generousity is so typical of the community we are privileged to live in.

Community Associations are the backbone of our society. They volunteer their skills, they raise funds to improve the quality of life of all and they fulfil that innate need to do what is right and proper. In 2010 there were 6.4million volunteers in Australia. These associations often force Federal, State and Local Governments to provide the most basic public services to its residents. For example the Lions Club raised awareness for a swimming pool in Bellingen and then through fundraising and hard work brought the project to completion. No job is too small for our determined and resilient community. We can achieve the same outcome and re-roof Bellingen Hospital.

The day when patients and staff do not have to dodge buckets of water, be moved out of wards and are safe and dry whilst they are in hospital is one step closer.

The barometer in the Bellingen IGA window is now at $38,378 and rising.
Would your community service organisation like to donate to this project? Please contact Barbara Moore on 6655 1898 or Pauline Murphy on 6655 1936.
Have you signed the petition? We have also registered the petition on line with

Please write to our local MP’s (Andrew Stoner, Andrew Fraser, Luke Hartsuyker); to the Federal & State Ministers for Health (Tanya Plibersek & Jillian Skinner) and; to the Chief Executive of the Mid North Coast Local Health District (Stewart Dowrick). Addresses for these people are available on the Web or contact Barbara for that information.

Thank you CPSA,
Barbara Moore (President BHAG Inc.) 26th April 2013

Scott & Mary of Bellingen Cellars dig deep to assist with the Re-Roofing of Bellingen Hospital

The year is 1901.  A Community Public Meeting is called & a Public Fund is established to build a hospital in Bellingen.

Two hundred and forty pounds in donations is promised by the community. Five hundred pounds is promised by the Government and with estimates of further donations, 1,100 pounds is raised to commence the construction of the first hospital in Bellingen.

Scott & Mary of Bellingen Cellars

Scott & Mary of Bellingen Cellars

In 1903 the “Raleigh District Hospital” was opened costing only 793 Pounds.

110 years later it is now 2013. The original hospital building no longer exists.  Every piece of timber, roofing iron, floor or wall cladding has been replaced with new buildings. In 1977 Hewitt Block was built & in 1978 Hartley House was built.

The current roofs on these buildings are 36/35 years old and as technology has advanced new services have been installed on these roofs such as air conditioning equipment. With every installation there is a penetration of the roofing iron creating a risk of water entering the building.

With the roofs continuing to leak with every heavy rain event they must be replaced not patched as has been the case in the past.

The Bellingen Shire community is generously donating funds & goods (to raffle) to assist the Government to re-roof our hospital.

This week a cash donation was received from Scott & Mary of Bellingen Cellars for $500.00 to contribute to the Bellinger Health Action Group’s initiative to ‘re-roof Bellingen Hospital’.  This donation is extraordinary & we are overwhelmed by their generosity.  It takes you back to 1901 when the community rallied together to build our hospital.

We call upon all businesses & persons in our community who would like to donate to this project no matter how small to contact Barbara Moore on 6655 1898 or Pauline Murphy on 6655 1936 if you wish to make a donation or purchase a raffle ticket for our current raffle of ‘Roof-Fuss’ the Black angus.

We commenced with $35,000 in February.  This rose to $36,418.22 on the 4th of April & with a further $1,460.00 raised in the past 12 days $37,878.22 is set aside to contribute to the cost of re-roofing our hospital.

Barbara Moore (President of BHAG Inc.)

18th April 2013