Relatives of the late Robert Hughes with the memorial plaque … Michael and Colleen Hassell, from Wondai; and Valda and Malcolm Wickson, ex-Wondai now Hervey Bay; Colleen and Valda are Robert’s nieces

October 18, 2021

A generous bequest from a former resident of Wondai’s “The Laurels” has led to the official opening of the last two units at the complex.

The Laurels is a not-for-profit project run by Wondai & District Independent Living Units For The Aged Inc.

The committee was formed in 1974 by then-Wondai Shire CEO Alan Keates OAM and local businessman Bob Huston, who both recognised the need for aged units in Wondai.

The first two independent living units were opened in May 1977 on former Wondai State School land.

More units were added gradually over the years, with Units 19 and 20 officially opened in 2013 by Mr Keates.

The South Burnett Regional Council approved the construction of two more units in 2016 but construction of these – Units 21 and 22 – did not begin until 2020.

The bequest, by the late Robert Hughes, enabled the expansion to begin.

Association president Winston Burrows said the new duplex building would be named the “Robert Hughes Memorial Units” in his memory.

Mr Burrows said the group had run out of space for more units at The Laurels site but land behind the Wondai Post Office had now been put aside for aged care.

The formal opening of the latest units was carried out on Saturday morning by South Burnett mayor Brett Otto, after the completion of the roadwork and the laying of turf.

Footnote: The Association also operates two units in Proston. Cr Kathy Duff said there was an interesting story behind these Proston residences. Proston Apex Club members, under the moniker “The Kingaroy Peanuts”, entered the mid-1980s TV show “It’s A Knockout” and donated their prizemoney to the project.

Related articles:

South Burnett mayor Brett Otto officially opens the latest two units at The Laurels
Local divisional councillor Scott Henschen also spoke at the opening
Mayor Brett Otto, Cr Kathy Duff and Association president Winston Burrows
The Laurels residents, representatives from the Hughes family and the building company attended the opening and morning tea
The two new units have actually been occupied since April but the associated roadworks have only just been completed

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