Reg Leonard House marks 40 years as a home away from home

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Reg Leonard House marks 40 years as a home away from home
For more than a century, Mater has existed to respond to unmet community need. Forty years ago today, on 3 September 1979, Reg Leonard House was officially opened to provide patient-family accommodation for the first time.
 
Reg Leonard House was designed to provide motel-style accommodation for parents from rural and regional areas whose children were receiving care at Mater Children’s Hospital.
 
Reg Leonard House was instigated by Sir Reg Leonard, who was the chairman of the Children’s Hospitals Appeal at the time.
 
Sir Reg and the appeal committee noted that specialists in paediatric medicine supported having mothers close to their children while the children were in hospital. However, finding accommodation when relocating from out of town was not always easy or affordable.
 
In 1978, in partnership with the Sisters of Mercy, Sir Reg created Reg Leonard House at 24 Clarence Street, South Brisbane (the Children’s Hospital Appeal also funded a second facility at the Royal Children’s Hospital).
 
Throughout most of its first 40 years, Reg Leonard House was managed by Des and Janene Crockett, who had both worked at Mater for several years—Des in the pay office and Janene as a nurse—when they took up the opportunity to become live-in caretakers at the facility. 
 
Des and Janene provided support to hundreds of families each year while raising their own three children at the facility. When Des died in 2002, Janene continued to manage Reg Leonard House until her retirement in March 2019.
 
Over the years, the original block of eight units has been expanded to 17 units. 
 
What hasn’t changed over the years is the provision of a home away from home for hundreds of families every year. 
 
Today, Reg Leonard House has broadened its charter to provide accommodation to families with a loved one receiving care at any Mater hospital on the South Brisbane campus.
 
Image: Sir Reg Leonard, Sister Angela Mary and Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane Bishop John Gerry, who officially opened and blessed Reg Leonard House on 3 September 1979.
 
Image courtesy of Mater Archives and Heritage Centre.

Tags: Mater Children's Hospital, Reg Leonard House, Sisters of Mercy