Agency History

1953 – On 20th November a meeting was held in the Hamilton Town Hall where it was decided that a centre for “Intellectually handicapped children” should be commenced in Hamilton.

1955 – The name Mulleraterong was accepted by the committee as the name of the new Centre and the site of the new building in Alexandra Parade was approved.

1982 – The Mulleraterong Centre builds and opens Hamilton’s first residence in Rippon Road to support adults and children with disabilities in permanent and respite accommodation. Pat Sheills was the Executive Officer at the time.

1990 – Warrnambool and District Accommodation Support Service Inc (WDASS) is incorporated. The service was previously administered by Yalundah Adult Services Inc. Jim Borstel is the first Chair and Colleen Smalley Executive Officer.

1990 – Mulleraterong Residential Services Association is established and becomes an incorporated body with Executive Officer, Vicki Cameron, who worked from home. The Mulleraterong Centre continues as an entity providing centre based day programs.

1990 – Kent Road and Gordon Street houses in Hamilton commenced operation

1991 – A Respite House at Alexandra Parade combining adults and children is established in Hamilton with the assistance of the Mulleraterong Bingo Committee.

1992 – As a result of requests from families, Yalundah purchases 52 and 54 Fairy Street, in addition to its property at 229 Moore Street. WDASS is now operating a respite house and residential properties in Henna Street, Worland Grove and Latrobe Street Warrnambool.

1993 – A new independent living unit is established in Mannet Street, Hamilton.

1993 – Yalundah sells 52 and 54 Fairy Street, prompting WDASS to purchase 6 Loyola Avenue.

1994 – A unit in Merri Street is purchased by WDASS.

1995 – Another living unit is established in Mannet Street, Hamilton.

1996 – New Mulleraterong Chief Executive Officer Maree Sandford is employed and an office established at 51 Brown St.

1996 – WDASS opens a new home in Peter Street.

1998 – WDASS purchases a new central property in Warrnambool.

1998 – Duke Avenue Childrens respite house commenced in Hamilton

2000 – Mulleraterong moves to 49 Brown Street for larger office space with full time administration support. Funding is received for a new purpose-built respite facility that is officially opened by Geoff and Helen Handbury.

2000 – WDASS relocates its office from 40 Kepler Street to 181 Fairy Street.

2001 – WDASS becomes known as Southern Way Direct Care Service Inc and the agency opens a new independent living home for five clients. The name is formally approved in 2002 and the agency becomes commonly known as Southern Way. Graham Kemp becomes the new CEO.

2003 – The “Holiday House” opens at 3 Worland Grove.

2003 – Southern Way makes an offer to buy its rented property at 181 Fairy Street. Settlement is completed in 2005.

2006 – Southern Way moves into its redeveloped office at 181 Fairy Street.

2006 – Mulleraterong Residential Services Association becomes known as STAY Residential Services Association Inc. The name STAY is an acronym for “Support to Accommodate You”.

2007. STAY has outgrown the office at 49 Brown St and buys a residential property in Alexandra Parade.

2008 – Southern Way receives funding from the Federal and State Governments for the development of a house next to the respite facility to provide Shared Supported Accommodation for people living with older carers.

2009 – An interim accommodation house is established by Southern Way in Worland Grove.

2009 – Southern Way’s All Abilities Debutante Ball is a huge success.

2010: STAY now has properties at Kent Road which was officially opened during the year, Gordon Street, a transportable unit in Rippon Road, Kitchener Street (Children’s Respite), Roberts Street (Adult Respite), and a new interim facility in Alexandra Parade.

2011 – A fifth permanent residential home is opened in Hamilton (Kent Corner) and the completion of a new two-bedroom transportable at the STAY Rippon Rd premises.

2011 – Southern Way now has a “holiday” respite house in Worland Grove, residential house in Merri Street, Peter Street, Loyola Avenue, a new house in Kerr Street.

2012 – STAY establishes a third independent living unit in Hamilton and purchases a new commuter bus for the respite program. The After Work Program won a 2012 Powercor Business Award.

2013 – The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is announced, to be implemented over the next seven years. This represents the single biggest change to the delivery of services to people with a disability in Australia’s history.

2014 – Facility Based Respite is relocated from Kelp Street to the newly purchased Worland Grove property, and the Kerr Street facility was commissioned.

2015 – STAY moves to 46 Brown St and rents the Alexandra Parade house. The new offices are officially opened by former Victorian Premier Denis Napthine and his wife Peggy, former carers with the organisation.

2015 – Southern Way Chief Executive Officer Graham Kemp retires after 14 years. Paul Lougheed is appointed to the position.

2015 – STAY and Southern Way enter into a strategic alliance for the employment of a joint quality manager. The following year the alliance was strengthened with the joint employment of a shared business manager.

2016 – Property at 66 Ryot Street Warrnambool is purchased for the development of Specialist Disability Accommodation.

2017 – The Boards of STAY and Southern Way agree to proceed with a special meeting to develop a partnership Memorandum of Understanding. On September 13, members of both agencies vote unanimously to merge. The new entity, Southern Stay Disability Services, is launched in December.

2017 – The NDIS is officially rolled out in south-west Victoria.

2019 – Southern Stay expands accommodation in Warrnambool with properties in Crawley Street, Gavin Street, Banyan Street and Dales Road, and also leases additional office space at 183 Fairy Street.

2020 – The new $2.6 million disability support accommodation in Ryot Street is opened, south-west Victoria’s first high physical support needs disability accommodation built under the NDIS.

2020 – New offices are established at 144-150 Fairy Street Warrnambool and 42 Brown Street Hamilton to accommodate agency growth.

2021 – New $1.6 million specialist accommodation is announced for Hamilton at 13 Scoresby Street.

2022 – Southern Stay expands its operations into Portland