The quiet achievers of the village sector

Meet Judy Clarkson, 77, and Jodie Mitchell, a mother and daughter team who have committed to building great villages – and communities – for their residents.

The pair operate two villages – the 220-unit Blue Hills Residences and Blue Hills Rise – in Cranbourne, a town about 45 kilometres outside of Melbourne.

I first encountered them in 2006, when they were building a large aged care facility (nursing home) at the Residences, a contrast to the thinking at the time that said retirement villages and aged care homes (nursing homes) shouldn’t mix.

When the building was complete and the service established for their residents, they then sold the home to Homestyle Aged Care. It’s a sign of the financial risk they were willing to take on to make their investment better.

Caring for the community

It’s a method they are again using again at Blue Hills Rise which has 203 units with 87 more due to be finished in the next 12 to 18 months.

They even built a chapel which is open to all religions and can be hired by residents and the local community for services including weddings.

While they didn’t need the aged care home (nursing home) or the church to increase their sales, they built them anyway knowing that their residents would need – and appreciate them – one day.

You can read more about their resident-focused philosophy here.

Putting their money on the line

Now they have done it again, opening a shopping centre costing nearly $20 million nearby because residents and the local community were in need of one.

Managing the centre themselves, they have also managed to persuade a Coles supermarket, a McDonald’s outlet, petrol station and a variety of other retailers to set up shop.

This followed years of negotiation after buying the land in 2005 with the local council to build an enclosed shopping centre rather than an open strip of shops.

Known as the Shopping on Clyde neighbourhood centre, it’s now attracting 8,000 shoppers every day, showing that perseverance – and caring for others – can pay off. 

Picture: Judy Clarkson, the City of Casey Mayor Sam Azziz and Jodie Mitchell.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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.