A Marton Community Project

 Edale Aged Care Centre is a Charitable Trust established when a group of community minded citizens perceived the need to provide quality aged care for the elderly of Marton without them having to leave their home town. The original concept of building a rest Home in Marton was driven by Marton Christian Welfare and the first meeting to discuss this idea was held on the 5th of February 1972. It was attended by Mr B Corrigan, Mrs E Corballis, Mr T Evans, Mr P Tourell, and Mr E Calkin. Marton Edale Home Trust Board was subsequently registered as a Charitable Trust and its first meeting was held on 12th February 1973. The first Board members were Mr E Calkin, Mr C Calkin, Rev R Hall, Rev C Brown, Mr T Evans, Mr A Spilman, Mr M Radford, Mr R Stewart, Mr A Gudopp, Mr E Pitman, Mr B Cowper, Mr P Melody, Mrs R Poppe, Mrs E Corballis and Mr G Gordon. Mr E Calkin was elected as the first chairman.

The Trust obtained a large property costing $8400, at 30 Bond Street from the Borough Council. This property had formerly been owned by the Cook family and had been donated to the council by Miss Lucy Cook a former midwife who was instrumental in establishing Plunket in Marton. This property had once been the home of Bishop Octavious Hadfield and it is believed he called it “Edale” after his family home in England. His legacy remains in the Oak Trees which still grow on the property as well as in the name of Hadfield Court. The flats are named Lucy Cook Court to acknowledge the fact that Lucy Cook gave the land to the Marton Borough Council as a bequest to the district.

It took seven years of hard work involving planning, fund-raising and promotion by the original Board, as well as voluntary work by individuals and organisations such as the Marton Lion’s, Rotary and Jaycees clubs who spent many working bees clearing the section and demolishing the old homestead. When the work became too difficult for volunteers, local company T & J McIllwaine provided heavy machinery free of charge. During the thinning of the many trees it was discovered that the Oak in the middle of the front lawn had grown around a concrete fence post complete with wire.

As a Charitable Trust it was decided that Edale would be governed by the Marton community. Thus the Board consists of representatives from the Rangitikei District Council (formerly the Marton Borough Council), Marton Christian Welfare, Marton branch of Red Cross, Marton branch of Federated Farmers, Marton Rotary, Jaycee and Lions Clubs, as well as the Marton Bible Chapel, and the Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian churches.

A contract to build the complex was signed with Gemini Pepper Construction from Wanganui on 20 May 1978 with completion estimated for Jan 1980. Finally, on the 12th April 1980 the home of twenty beds and twenty flats with accommodation for two matrons was officially opened by Dr R A Booker the then deputy Director General of Health. The Chairman of the trust at that time was The Rev Cliff Brown, father of the current Chairman Dudley Brown. Rental for a room in the Rest Home was set at $65 per week and $25 for a flat. Mrs Kath Palaamo was the first matron.

The Marton Community fully supported the project, generously contributing $120,000 a huge sum for that time. The first donation of $100 was made by Marton Christian Welfare. Other funding came from the Health Department, bequests from estates and grants from various charities, especially the Dudding Trust. Individual citizens of Marton also made generous donations with payments pledged and spread over three years. Initially the fundraising was given to professional fund raisers, however it was subsequently decided that the people of the district could do the job themselves. A group of about 100 locals visited and phoned many Rangitikei residents and when the complex opened it was free of debt.

Edale has continued to develop since it’s opening. In 1987 two extra wings were planned and subsequently built for the rest home as well as the matron’s flats being incorporated into the home, increasing the number of beds to thirty. By 1990 the kitchen, laundry and dining area were inadequate and were extended with a sunroom also being added. Two larger nursing care rooms which could take hospital beds were achieved by changing three existing rooms into two and the northern wing was extended by two more rooms so that residential numbers were not decreased. At this time the Home and flats were full with both having waiting lists. Flat number four was extended to make the bedroom and lounge bigger to accommodate a married couple, Mr and Mrs P Jordan. In 2015 the four flats on Armagh Tce were altered to become 2 two-bedroomed apartments suitable for married couples.

Hadfield Court was established in 1987 after land to the west of the flats was obtained from the Borough Council and subdivided into six sections each costing $15,000. The first cottage was built by Mrs I Holden soon after and two more own-your-own cottages were erected in the early 1990’s.

Mrs Dickie Hammond’s cottage, built by Richard Ellery won a Bronze medal in the Wanganui 2009 Master Builders New Home competition. In 2006 a recreational reserve was donated to Edale by T & J McIllwaine. By 2009 six more sections had been incorporated into the subdivision, costing $55,000. There are now seven cottages the newest having been completed by 2011. The ownership of these cottages is being changed from “own-your-own” to “licence to occupy” in keeping with current industry standards. A generous bequest from Mr A Klatt has given the Trust Board funds to implement this policy.

During the thirty-five years of Edale’s existence, government policy on elderly care has constantly changed. When the home opened in1980 frail ambulant people were cared for in hospital and the Government subsidised the building of rest homes. By 1990 this had changed and elderly ambulant were cared for by rest homes and there was no subsidy for building or altering rest homes. Now the elderly are being cared for in their own homes as long as possible, meaning that homes like Edale have to provide more nursing and palliative care. The Edale Trust Board has continued to work and fund raise to meet these levels of care.  Edale has also changed from being a Rest Home with flats to a retirement village. Previous Trust Boards have worked for thirty-five years to ensure that the original concept of being able to find aged care without having to leave the district, continues for the residents of Marton and the Rangitikei.