With little support available for Australian families of children with intellectual disabilities, a group of parents establish the Society for the Welfare of Mental Deficients. The name was later changed to the Psycho-Care Society, then The Sub-Normal Children’s Welfare Association (SCWA).
”The story of Achieve Australia began with a self-sufficient group of parents who used their own resources to create a support organisation for their children with disability. Their pioneering spirit of innovation, hard work, and dedication to social inclusion still drives the culture and commitment of Achieve Australia today.
The Early Years
Name of the Society for the Welfare of Mental Deficients changed to the Psycho-Care Society.
Name of the Psycho-Care Society name changed to The Sub-Normal Children’s Welfare Association (SCWA). The SCWA pioneers housing and accommodation for people with disability, as well as related services.
The family of the late William A. Crowle, a prominent Northern Suburbs philanthropist, donated a 4-acre property in Ryde to the SCWA – the first real estate asset acquired by this forerunner of today’s Achieve Australia. It was named Crowle Home in honour of the donors.
The Ryde property had been a rehabilitation centre for boys who had passed through the Children’s Court. A dormitory and assembly hall on the site became The Crowle Home – named in honour of its benefactor. It became home for nine girls and six boys with intellectual disability.
The first Crowle Home Fete was held.
Crowle Home Occupation Centre was established.
Another branch of the SCWA was established to manage the operations of Mount Own Villa – accommodation for teenaged girls and women with intellectual disability.
Mt Own was officially opened but destroyed by a bushfire only months afterwards. There were no injuries or loss of life.
Mount Own was rebuilt and reopened.
Mount Own Villa Branch was renamed Hornsby Branch.
Crowle Opportunity Shop opened.
The Marsden Rehabilitation Centre opened on the premises of the former King’s School in Parramatta. It was established as a training centre for children with intellectual disability.
”Achieve Australia’s values are based on the philosophy of person-centred decision-making and support. We are committed to involving people we support and families in decision-making, listening to and respecting people's wants and needs, delivering on what we promise, and respecting confidentiality. Every day we work at not accepting what is, but imagining what could be.
A New Era
Hornsby Activity Therapy Centre was established.
Crowle Home School closed.
International Year of Disabled Persons.
The SCWA was renamed The Challenge Foundation of NSW. At the same time, the Hornsby Branch of the SCWA was renamed Hornsby Challenge.
Hornsby Challenge pioneered shared living with someone without a disability. Commonwealth Disability Services Act 1986 revolutionised disability services.
Crowle Home began operating sheltered workshops.
Hornsby Challenge developed social networking.
Crowle Home Opportunity Shop closed in December.
Crowle Home Branch and Hornsby Challenge were amalgamated under the Hornsby Challenge name.
The devolution of Crowle Home began.
The Crowle Foundation Community Living Services began.
When a needlecraft store went out of business its stock was donated to Crowle Home and sold at a one-off needlecraft sale to raise much-needed funds. This was the beginning of the popular Fabric, Needlecraft & More shop, which is still going strong today.
”Achieve Australia supports people with disability across Sydney, and the Hunter and Northern Rivers regions. We offer accessible accommodation in a variety of group homes and apartments, as well as Day Programs through multiple centres – all designed to encourage people to build their independence, life skills and connections in the community.
A Person Centred Approach
Marsden Rehabilitation Centre was devolved and the site transferred to The Heritage Office and Heritage Council of NSW.
Mount Own was sold.
Hornsby Challenge relocated to Eastwood.
Crowle Home adopted the Transition to Work program.
Hornsby Challenge became the Achieve Foundation.
Crowle Home consolidated its commercial operations.
Achieve Australia was created through the amalgamation of the Achieve Foundation and the Crowle Foundation.
Achieve Australia purchased Araluen House in Epping – a heritage building previously used as a wedding reception centre. After being retrofitted for accessibility and support for people with disability, Araluen was opened as a Day Programs centre. Services from the run-down Crowle Home were transferred to Araluen.
Achieve Australia celebrated 60 years of support for people with disability. Also, approval was granted for the redevelopment of the Crowle Home site.
On 29 April, Achieve Australia’s new head office in North Ryde was opened. Construction also began on its first purpose-built, wholly-owned community home – a duplex in Eastwood. Crowle Home officially closed on 21 September.
The Fabric, Needlecraft & More Shop opened at its current Meadowbank location.
In June, Achieve Australia’s first purpose-built duplex was opened in Eastwood. In July, the final group of residents transition from Crowle Home to community living.
Construction began on a medium-density residential complex of 416 apartments on the site of the former Crowle Home. It was named Crowle Estate and today includes 22 Specialised Disability Accommodation units with 36 bedrooms – all owned by Achieve Australia.
The first group of people supported by Achieve Australia moved into their new Crowle Estate apartments in December. This group included individuals who had previously lived in Crowle Home.
In July, the final group of tenants supported by Achieve Australia transitioned into new apartments in Crowle Estate. It was officially opened on 23 August.
Achieve Australia celebrates 65 years of providing disability services on 30 November.
”Achieve Australia’s vision is social inclusion for people with disability. In addition to growing the supply of accessible, affordable housing we provide a range of person-centred services. These include health and wellbeing support, employment and work experience opportunities – and sports, recreation and social activities which encourage people to connect with their community.