News & Events

Major donation from the House of the Gentle Bunyip

July 27, 2020

A major bequest has been gifted to the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria by an organisation with a 45-year-old history in looking after older people through day care and emergency accommodation.

The House of the Gentle Bunyip was founded by Dr Athol Gill, a Baptist theologian, in 1975. Based in Clifton Hill, the community’s mission was to support older people through housing, art and music, and counselling.

However, the community began to fall away after the death of Dr Gill, and most recently has been supporting a handful of people who have now moved into aged care.

Phillip Wohlers, CEO, said it was an honour to be gifted $200,000 from an organisation whose mission largely mirrored that of OCAV.

“Through this gift. we will be able to continue the will of Dr Gill of providing housing to older Victorians in a community which encourages art and music,” Mr Wohlers said.

The House of the Gentle Bunyip was located close to Rushall Park. It was an ecumenical Christian community drawing many of its members from the Baptist tradition who wanted to explore some of the radical implications of the Christian faith in a non-traditional setting.

Dr Gill was internationally recognised both as a scholar and provocative advocate for the poor and social justice. He was fired by two theological colleges, before being re-instated by one.

“There are many similarities between Gill and our founder George Coppin, not least their unwillingness to conform, their advocacy for the poor, and their vision,” Mr Wohlers said.

Bequests and OCAV

All donations to OCAV over $2 are tax deductible. Bequests to OCAV are welcomed.

OCAV began over 150 years ago because a group of Victoria’s founding families made significant bequests, which allowed the first cottages to be built.

OCAV does not get any Government funding for the building or maintenance of independent units in the four villages. It relies on donations and bequests for major works as well as upgrades and renovations.

Some people who leave a bequest to OCAV stipulate that is must go towards the gardens, renovation of a unit or units, or to a specific program, such as a dementia program. These bequest wishes are always honoured.

One of the most recent renovations completed was to the cottage that former secretary and resident Anne Jeffery paid to have built in the 1960s when she retired from OCAV. The cottage’s restoration was a great success and it is now home to a couple who are enjoying the light filled unit with modern amenities.

“Anne’s generosity not only allowed us to build the dementia unit at Liscombe House, her cottage at Rushall Park has also housed many people over the decades since she died,” Mr Wohlers said.

If you have included Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria in your Will or if you would like further information please contact: OCAV on 03 9481 9300.


Josephine Katite may be a long way from Kenya, where she was born and lived until 2005 but the experience of looking after her elderly grandparents is very much with her every day in her work at Liscombe House.

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