A Brief History of Bundaberg Health Promotions

Bundaberg Health Promotions Limited grew from early work in Bundaberg that aimed to introduce a cardiac rehabilitation program. In October 1991 Mr. Tony Arvidsson implemented a program of patient visitation in at the hospitals along with Bert Osborne, June Perkins and Les Reading. This patient visitation was supported by the local doctors.

In the last months of 1993 meetings were held to consider the options and establish an organisation that would implement a cardiac rehabilitation program in Bundaberg. At the time there was correspondence with Dr Geoffrey Cornish regarding the possible implementation of a Cornish Walking Track. 

On 11 November1993 the Bundaberg Council Town Clerk, Mr. D.A. Byrnes wrote as follows: “That approval be granted for use of a section of the Walla Street Park Area in the vicinity of the Skateboard Bowl for the establishment of a walking track.”

During the early months of 1994 weekly meetings were held with a Combined Hospitals Coordinating Committee including representatives from the Bundaberg Base Hospital, the Friendly Society Private Hospital, Heart Support-Australia and the Mater Misericordiae Hospital. The philosophy outlined at the time indicated: “We all believe that cardiac rehabilitation is a lifetime venture for our clients and their families through changes to their lifestyle and attitudes, not just another treatment given to them for a set period or time, thereby achieving secondary prevention.”

The program focussed on assisting people to return to optimal function both physically and psychologically and to assist patients towards a lifestyle that reduced the risk of coronary disease. The Combined Hospitals Coordinating Committee also aimed to become involved in community awareness and primary prevention of disease.

On 16 February 1994 Mr. Kim Knoblauch [CEO, FSPH] invited Dr. Martin Strahan to join the Inter Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation Steering Committee. 

On 23 March 23, 1994 a confidentiality agreement was signed with Dr. Geoffrey Cornish to establish a Cornish Walking Track.In April the Terms of Reference for a Coordinating Committee of Hospitals passed with Mr. Kim Knoblauch as Chair and Nurse Maria Rosmalen as Secretary. In addition, details of the philosophy, aims and objectives of the program were outlined. 

The Official Opening of the HeartStart Walking track took place at the Walla Street location on 23 July with banners and shirts and the HeartStart program in Bundaberg was begun. During 1994 the average attendance was 19 per day.

During 1995 average numbers at the walking track remained high with around 32 per session. In the next few years the number of participants remained between about 23 and 37. 

In April 1995 the “Bundaberg Inter-Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation and Disease Prevention Program Inc” was formed. A two year budget of $45,000 was proposed with contributions from the hospitals.

Some of the key objectives were:

  • To promote cardiac rehabilitation and the prevention of cardiac disease in the Wide Bay Burnett Region.
  • To provide a means for cooperation between health professionals with an interest and expertise in cardiac rehabilitation and the prevention of cardiac disease.
  • To promote and encourage an interdisciplinary approach to cardiac rehabilitation and prevention of cardiac disease.
  • To initiate, carry out or promote research of whatever kind undertaken in the interests of cardiac rehabilitation or the prevention of cardiac disease.

On 18 August 1995 the minutes read that indicated: “Due to the problem of sandflies at the current walking track an alternative walking track was suggested by Les Reading. This location is in the North Bundaberg Hockey Field. This field is twice the size of the current track, is level ground and all facilities are available.” Walking commenced at the new track on 25 September 1995. The program has continued since that time and between 1994 and 2010 there have been just on 60,000 visits to this Walking Track.

Bundaberg Health Promotions Ltd was incorporated with responsibility for employment from 1st of July 1996. The primary focus until 2010 has been on cardiac rehabilitation and disease prevention. The agreement with the Commonwealth for the GP Super Clinic was signed on 8 April 2010.