Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury
Past and Present
Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury commenced operation on 4 December 1967, in an old house in Hornsby kindly provided by Hornsby Council. Over the course of the next twenty years, the organisation slowly but steadily grew, although right from the outset it was almost entirely reliant on volunteer effort. By the early 1980s, operating under the name ‘Hornsby & District Life Line & Community Aid Services’, the organisation was providing 24-hour telephone counselling, training, transportation, food parcels, and handyman services – all with a full-time staff of just two, plus over 250 fully accredited volunteer telephone counsellors.
By the time of its Silver Anniversary year in 1992, the organisation – now ‘Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Lifeline & Community Aid’– was also supply counselling services, (and had played a critical role in providing counselling support to State Emergency Services workers in the horrific Cowan rail accident of May 1990, and again the following year in the aftermath of the severe storm that hit the Hornsby area in January 1991).
In late 1994, the organisation won a tender with Ku-ring-gai Council to occupy a building that had previously been the Gordon Library. With the support of local media, a community campaign was run to refurbish the old library and create suitable spaces for expanded telephone and face-to-face crisis support services. In 1996 the transformed building was ready, and the organisation moved into its present home at 4 Park Avenue, Gordon.
Since 1996, Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury has grown into a large centre providing a diverse range of services to its local communities. Government funding for Community Building Partnerships has enabled further refurbishments, both at its Gordon location and at one of its Book Depots, providing more suitable facilities for its ever-widening range of crisis support services and its expanding retail and book sales businesses, which generate vital funding for its services.
Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury at Gordon is an independent Lifeline centre, managed by a small number of dedicated staff who are also responsible for coordinating more than 500 variously-skilled volunteers.
The organisation provides crisis support, suicide prevention and community aid services to the Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai and Willoughby Local Government areas, as well as parts of Ryde and North Sydney, and in the case of certain specific Sydney North Primary Health Network funded psychological treatment group and telephone support/call-back services, the Northern Beaches as well.
The organisation also provides a range of Mental Health In The Workplace training solutions to organisations both local and further afield, particularly in the health, welfare and community services sectors. Underpinning these services, fundraising events are an essential and growing core area of activity.
Skilled and dedicated volunteers provide support in all these areas of operation. Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury simply would not be able to do its vital life-saving work without its volunteers.