The dining room and lounge was packed with guests, staff and residents at Allambi Nursing Home last Sunday afternoon to celebrate 50 years since the opening of Allambi.

Among the guests was Reverend Barry Wells, who was the founding board member for Allambi, Robin Barber who was the original architect and Ian Ballinger who was the builder.

Allambi resident, Myra Gazelle was also a part of the celebration, who was the secretary of the founding ladies auxiliary.


The celebration started with a selection of music from the Nhill/Dimboola Band.  

Bandmaster Jill Walsgot said, “the music I selected for the occasion were old numbers that the residents would know and enjoy.”

Margaret Menzel opened the formalities and welcomed everyone and special guests, while Norma Elsom read out an apology from the Member of Lowan Emma Kealy, as well as cards sent in for the occasion by supporters.

Mrs Menzel then proceeded to invite the chairman of the board, Stoph Pilmore to say a few words.


Mr Pilmore spoke about the history of Allambi and how the need for a nursing home was recognised in the community 50 years ago. He then spoke of the future and the need for the home to grow to meet future demands of an aging population.

Rev Wells

He then invited the Rev Wells to speak.

Mr Wells came to Dimboola to take on the management of the Dimboola Hospital in the early days. He said he met  Margaret Menzel at the hospital, who worked in the store. We formed a board to start the Allambi Nursing Home fundraising activities in 1964.  

In 1969, with the support of a government grant, we were able to commission an architect to start building the home.

Rev Wells said, “Robin Barber was the architect and Ian Ballinger was the builder. The old grand home that sat on the land was gifted to the board and demolished to build the home.”

“Once we were up and running, we would send meals over from the hospital to feed the residents. Something I should have been sacked for, if they knew what I was doing,” admits Rev Wells.

Much of the old building does not exist today and with renovations and additions to the home, it now looks very different to the original design.

Mr Ballinger said, “Allambi was one of the first nursing homes of its type in Victoria and after completing this building, we went on to build a few more in the Wimmera and around Victoria.”

Before afternoon tea was served the Rev Tupe sang a number of songs to delight the crowd.