Strathearn (formerly the Upper Hunter Village Association) was formed through the vision of a local doctor, Dr Walter Pye who in 1972 embarked on an ambitious campaign to raise the necessary funds to build 40 villa units and the original 58 bed nursing home and day-care centre, still part of the existing facility. To be undertaken in three stages, the development was to commence with residential units near to the centre of town to be occupied by active aged people. The second and third stages of the development were to provide hostel type accommodation and geriatric nursing facilities, both of which were to be built on land adjacent to the Scott Memorial Hospital. With funds from various sources including Department of Social Security subsidies, donations from Scone Council and other local organisations, and vigorous fundraising by the local community, building of the units commenced in 1974 and were officially opened by the Honourable Ralph Hunt, Minister of Health, on 27 November 1976.
Meanwhile planning and fundraising continued for the construction of the Nursing Home and Day Care Centre. A generous donation from the firm Charles David Pty Ltd, the principals of the company having grown up in the area, enabled the Association to go immediately to tender for the construction, which commenced in November 1977. This first wing was named "C.R.Z. and D.E. Throsby Wing" after the parents of the proprietors of Charles David Pty Ltd.
With consideration for the projected needs of the district, it was decided that a further wing containing another 28 beds was needed. It was to be named “Drs O and DE Barton Wing" after Dr Oswald Barton and Dr DE (Toby) Barton, with whom Dr Pye shared practice with in his early years in Scone. This component of the Association saw construction continuing throughout 1978-9. The official opening of the Nursing Home and Day Care Centre took place on 6 October 1979 again by the Honourable Ralph Hunt, Minister for Health.
Further construction of more units within the townships of Scone and Aberdeen followed as well as purchase of a specially constructed bus to transport out-patients to and from the Day Care Centre. The dining room in the nursing home had also been extended to further accommodate resident comfort in a home-like environment.
In the financial year 1983-4 Dr Pye reported the obtaining of a grant from the Department of Social Security to build the Hostel with twenty-one bedsitter style units with ensuites. The building would also include lounge room, dining room, kitchenette, laundry facilities and landscaping, with construction commencing in June 1985 and was opened on 22 May 1986 to receive the first residents. The name William Dumaresq was chosen to hour the memory of one of Scone’s earliest settlers, who was granted St Aubins in 1829. He had played an important part in building Scone’s first hospital in 1834 and in having Scone gazette as a town in 1837. The official opening of the Hostel took place on 6 November 1986 by the Minister for Community Services, Senator Don Grimes.
The Association didn’t stop there, with building of further units to eventually bring the total to 68. The hostel kitchen was also upgraded to provide meals for the hostel and nursing home instead of having them provided by the Scott Memorial Hospital.
Today Strathearn provides accommodation and care for over 250 residents and clients across a number of sites in Scone, and into the homes of clients across the Upper Hunter.
Dr Pye without a doubt was eminently influential in the development of this very important organization, and indeed within the Scone community itself. Serving as Foundation President of the Upper Hunter Village Association from 1972 to July 1992, at which point he resigned as President, yet still remained on the Board as a Director, there is no doubt of the passion and dedication Dr Pye applied in his determination to establish an organisation to provide care for the ageing in a familiar and homely environment.
The Upper Hunter Village Association was renamed Strathearn Village in 1999 and was one of the first Aged Care Facilities to apply to become accredited at that time. All Aged Care Facilities had to be accredited by 2001. In 2010 the “Village” was dropped from the name, to become “Strathearn” today, still encompassing the vision of our founder Dr Walter Osmond Pye.