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In the late 1990s, St John of God Health Care recognised a critical need for more palliative care beds south of the river in Perth. 

Responding to this need, the St John of God Murdoch Community Hospice opened its doors in 1998, offering a 20-bed facility dedicated to providing comprehensive, compassionate, end of life care for people with a life-limiting illness, while also supporting carers and loved ones.

Located on the campus of St John of God Murdoch Hospital, the hospice was initially community-run. In 2006, it joined the St John of God Health Care group, ensuring a seamless integration of resources and expertise. 

The foundation for the hospice was laid through a collaborative effort: St John of God Health Care contributed the land for the hospice to be built on, the Sisters of St John of God generously contributed $1 million towards construction and fit-out, and the remaining $5 million required was raised through charitable donations - including grants from the Lotteries Commission of Western Australia (now ‘Lotterywest’) and the State government.

A major fundraising campaign spearheaded by St John of God Foundation and volunteer fundraising committees chaired by Dan Smetana, Alex Banovich, Vic Jakovich and Rob Walley, together with over 60 WA business and community leaders, approached over 700 individuals and organisations to raise the funds that brought the vision to life. 

Over 25 years later in 2021, a $5 million refurbishment of the hospice was completed, entirely funded by generous Gifts in Wills from grateful patients. The refurbishment has ensured that the hospice can continue to provide state-of-the-art care in a comfortable, supportive environment for many years to come.

“The hospice was built on philanthropy - on the generosity of spirit of our WA community. The ongoing support of our donors and community over the years demonstrates a commitment to the tradition of yesterday and the vision for tomorrow, to support people in some of their darkest times,” said St John of God Foundation CEO Bianca Pietralla. 

In reflecting on the role compassionate donors and volunteer leaders have played in the history and the future of the hospice, Ms Pietralla said, “the original campaign theme for the hospice of “Peace. Dignity. Compassion.” is as relevant today as it was over two decades ago. I honour the impact of philanthropy and community and thank everyone involved who played a role in making it possible.” 

Today, St John of God Murdoch Community Hospice is a beacon of hope, providing holistic, compassionate care not only to patients but to their loved ones as well. As a leading provider of palliative care in Perth’s southern suburbs, the hospice remains committed to its mission of serving the community with dignity and respect, thanks to the unwavering support of people like you.


Photo of St John of God Murdoch Hospital’s “Muffin Club” circa 1996

Image: St John of God Murdoch Hospital’s “Muffin Club”, 1996. Caregivers from the palliative care unit on Thomas Furlong Ward came together to host morning teas to raise money for the new hospice.

With sincere thanks to St John of God Health Care History & Heritage for contributing content for this story from their archives.

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