On June 13th, 2019, we were saddened to hear the news that our longest serving volunteer, Max Gilmore, passed away peacefully in his sleep. Max had been a part of the volunteer community for over 70 years. He was an extremely well-liked person, bringing a bright joyful smile to all those he encountered.
Throughout his time volunteering, he saw plenty of changes: renovations, refurbishments, friendly new faces and farewells, and even a visit from the Therapy Horse.
During his rich and important history with Christadelphian Homes, many might not know the full extent of Max’s contributions to the community, and how his family helped established Southhaven Aged Care as it stands today.
In 1946, Christadelphian Homes was established. The board members at the time commenced work to find suitable premises to help bring care to elderly individuals.
A year later, the ‘Woodstock’ home was purchased in Strathfield; a large two-storey home, which had once belonged to the Starkey family well-known for soft drink manufacturing.
Max was one of the first volunteers at ‘Woodstock’, helping residents prepare for moving in, and easing those transitioning into aged care.
In 1969, the Board decided to build further accommodation, and acquired two properties on Queensbury Road in Padstow Heights.
One of these properties (number 11 Queensbury Road) was owned by Marge and George Buchan, Max’s Auntie and Uncle. Before the bridge was built over Salt Pan Creek, houses along the creek were known as ‘Weekenders’ or holiday houses.
Max spent a weekend with his Auntie at her Queensbury Road home, 24 years before Christadelphian Homes acquired the site; the other Queensbury Road site being donated.
Around 1974, plans were made to build four blocks of self-care units, as well as a hostel at 11 Queensbury Road. This was the first major step for Southhaven Aged Care.
Throughout construction, Max organised Saturday ‘working bees’. Volunteers and Christadelphian community members spent these days at Southhaven carrying out a multitude of tasks.
Not long after the ‘Treetops’ building was completed, and Max was enjoying his retirement, he received a call from the Christadelphian Homes’ administrative officer.
Max recalls, “John asked me: ‘Do you want a job?’ I said, ‘Like what?’ He said to go over to Redmyre Road, Strathfield (Woodstock) and sell everything left behind.
This meant ‘everything’.”
Max’s last years as a volunteer for Southhaven were spent helping tend to the gardens, leading Bible reading classes, and helping serve in the café.
Sadly Max’s beautiful wife Jean passed away in September. Max and Jean are survived by their lovely daughters, Nicole and Cheryl, 8 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren. Max and Jean sleep together peacefully awaiting the Lord’s return.