Minister marks new era for Hillside home

Hillside at Figtree, once known for its elegance as a residence for BHP executives, has re-emerged as a state-of-the-art aged care facility.

More than 70 years after BHP movers and shakers used the site as their base to debate the future of steelmaking in Australia, Minister for Aged Care and Mental Health Mark Butler made the transformation official.

"Hillside has generated a real sense of community and inclusiveness through the programs, interactions and facilities available to residents," Mr Butler said at the opening yesterday.

"It's important that residents enjoy active and fulfilling lifestyles during retirement, and Hillside's efforts help to ensure that residents continue to feel valued and connected to their community."

MORE: Former BHP employees embrace life at Hillside

Hillside's Richard Clifford said the building design incorporated the "historical aspects of the property, including the extensive heritage gardens and a view that expands across Mount St Thomas to the industrial heartland of Port Kembla that is so much a part of Hillside's history".

The property was originally purchased by the Hoskins family and developed by BHP in the 1930s to provide guesthouses and a function centre for important visitors and executives.

The heritage building was renovated in 2009 and started operating the following year as the Hillside at Figtree Aged Care Facility.

The latest $14 million expansion accommodates a further 66 residential care places offering both high and low residential care, bringing the total to 81.

The new three-storey building offers a range of accommodation styles including single and couples accommodation.

Hillside Brae director Theresa Kramer described the facility as a community "with residents who are actively engaged in building a vibrant, inclusive, collaborative place to live".

During his visit to Wollongong yesterday Mr Butler also met with representatives of the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra.

The meeting was organised with the support of MP Sharon Bird to showcase multicultural health and ageing programs and activities delivered in regional areas.

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