In 1953, the Y’s Men’s Club was encouraged to establish a facility in Ballarat to provide education, welfare and therapy for children with disabilities. Prominent local psychiatrist, Dr E. Cunningham Dax challenged the Club to construct the facility.
The Y’s Men’s Club, led by its then president Mr R Austin McCallum took up the challenge and worked hard to make the vision a reality. With assistance from the State Government and through the generous support of labour from the Master Builders, Master Plumbers and Master Painters Associations, the building was officially opened in 1955 by the Honourable Henry Bolte MP.
Since its opening, the organisation has developed into a leader in the provision of quality support for people with a disability. Its client base has shifted from children to adult services with its current base in Learmonth Street Alfredton constructed in 1992 to accommodate the increase in its Day Care programs.
In 1997 a merger with Central Highlands Regional Residents Association and Central Highlands Independent Living Inc. formed McCallum Disability Services Inc.
Over the past 60 years, McCallum’s operation has grown and developed with a range of services that reach into the community. Many initiatives have been implemented by McCallum to maximise the opportunities for people with a disability to help them in community life including:
McCallum Industries supported Employment Program re-located to 1820 Sturt St, Ballarat.
MCC Art/Pottery Unit re-located to Mobility Room.
Seven Independent Living Units developed on vacant land at Leopold St.
Murdoch Community Services merged with McCallum.
Purpose built Accommodation Unit built at Spencer St Sebastopol.
Community Connection@Albert, 173 Albert Street, Sebastopol developed as a community centre for Club LOWD (Life Options Work Directions).
McCallum purchased Coronet Laundry in Coronet St, Wendouree. The business is renamed McCallum Linen and becomes a social enterprise providing employment for people with and without disability.
The $1.8m Albert Street housing development was completed to provide a new, more inclusive community for eight young people living with disabilities. The units were designed so they were spacious, modern, open plan and, most importantly, tailored to residents needs.
McCallum commences as a registered provider of the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) which will support a better life for hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability and their families and carers. The NDIS will mean peace of mind for every Australian - for anyone who has, or might acquire, a disability.
McCallum purchased two blocks of land in the newly developed Ballarat suburb Lucas. Two houses are planned to be constructed on these blocks of land and will provide modern, technologically advanced and innovative housing for people with disability.