New culturally sensitive aged care home to open in Nhulunbuy, NT

A new aged care home designed hand-in-hand with Yolngu leaders – the first of its kind in Australia – is nearing completion at Nhulunbuy in East Arnhem Land, NT.

The $30 million, 32-bed home will be run by Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation with help from UnitingCare’s Australian Regional and Remote Community Services (ARRCS), and is slated to open in October; it will include culturally-appropriate features such as a bunngul (ceremony) ground, to be used when a resident passes away.

Terese Marchesi, from Australian Regional and Remote Community Services, is the project manager for the home, and told the ABC that Yolngu people have led the project from “start to finish”.

“They’ve been involved with absolutely every aspect, from the build through to the landscaping – choosing colours, providing art, providing guidance, working on menu planning.

“Everything you can imagine that becomes part of building and operating a facility like this, we’ve had Yolngu people at the heart of it,” she said.

The first residents will be eight Yolngu elders currently living in residential care in Darwin due to the lack of facilities in East Arnhem Land.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.