A local Aboriginal community leader, Joy Trudgett, developed the concept for an Indigenous Aged Care Facility in Gilgandra. Joy was an extremely active community leader and actively promoted Indigenous Self Determination and community projects throughout the 70’s and 80’s. The Hostel came about as a result of community meetings held in the 1980’s, identifying a need for culturally relevant Aged Care Accommodation within Gilgandra. To meet these identified needs, extensive consultation took place at a grass roots level. This allowed the facility to developed, which reflects the spiritual feelings connected with the traditions and customs of local Aboriginal people.
At the same time the Government (Aboriginal Hostels Inc and Health and Ageing) were building new Aboriginal Hostel and Aged Care accommodation in a number of communities in North Western NSW in response to a variety of community needs.
Fortunately, Gilgandra was identified as one of the target communities and received a one off capital grant for the building of the Jack Towney Hostel Facility on land granted to the Gilgandra Aboriginal Corporation (a local community housing company originally established by Jack Towney).
The buildings were completed around 1989 and originally operated on volunteer labour and donations. The Gilgandra Aboriginal Corporation provided administrative support and some financial support in the first year and most of the labour was provided by volunteers from the Aboriginal Community.
Joy Trudgett was a member of the ATSIC Regional Council in 90/91 and sourced a one-off grant for recurrent funding to get the hostel through its first year or two until Hostels and Aged Care could come to an agreement over funding all the new facilities for ongoing expenses.
The Hostel has continued to grow and service the local Aged and Frail community of Gilgandra and surrounding districts since 1989.
On 11th April 2002 the Jack Towney Hostel Aboriginal Corporation (named in memory of Joy Trudgett’s father) was formed and accepted ownership and control of the facility from the founding organisation the Gilgandra Aboriginal Corporation.
In April 2009 the Jack Towney Hostel Aboriginal Corporation entered into a partnership with the Gilgandra Shire Council to continue delivering aged care services to the community.
In 2018 Jack Towney was extended with brand new office facilities, a commercial-grade kitchen, amenities and an upgraded reception area.