Freemasons’ donation supports families and loved ones


Bass Coast Health (BCH) is grateful to have received two very generous and special donations from Wonthaggi Freemasons to better equip the beloved Armitage House palliative care service. 

One donation was a custom-designed and built trolley which helps families supporting loved ones during end-of-life care. The portable trolley offers self-contained tea and coffee-making facilities, phone charging, books and activities, and can be plugged into any power point. 

The working drawings for the trolley were drafted by Wonthaggi local Ken Barnes, who went through the process of supporting his wife through her final stages of life at Armitage House, where palliative care is offered at Wonthaggi Hospital. 

The trolley’s design elements came from Armitage House staff with particular input from Ken’s wife Jenny, and staff member Jenny Hayes. 

“The staff were amazing while we were being looked after but I was conscious we weren’t their only concern. There were times where I didn’t want to disturb them for simple things, like a cuppa,” said Ken. 

“I thought wouldn’t it be great to have something that gives families a little bit of independence for things like that. So, the idea for the trolley was born. 

“It was fabricated by Shannon Llewellyn at UtePod in Inverloch, who makes metal canopies for utes. He was happy to take on the challenge of this project and the finished result is fantastic. 

“It cost about $3500 to make and I’m hoping that the plans will be picked up by other hospitals.” 

Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child was moved by the thought and effort that went into developing the trolley. 

“It’s just such a terrific concept and to see the Wonthaggi Freemasons take this initiative and make it a reality for our community is really humbling. Losing a loved one is a really emotional experience for partners and families and this offers some comforts during that time,” she said. 

“They also raised funds which allowed us to purchase a new and special bed, bedside drawers and cupboard for the new palliative care room.” 

Another generous donation of $5929 towards Armitage House was also received. The funds were the proceeds of a bicycle raffle started by Ken and his friend Gavin Slavin, in honour of Gavin’s late sister and much-loved local paramedic and athlete Deb Riley, who was also cared for at Armitage House. 

“We can’t stress enough how much we appreciate this donation. This is on top of Wonthaggi Freemasons’ fantastic fundraising efforts over the last few years towards the refurbishment of Armitage House, which benefitted from a $39,000 fundraising campaign. It’s from generous donations like this that our community ultimately benefits from our ability to provide better care,” Ms Child said.