A lifetime of service

Bob Gartland OAM. (Louisa Jones) 412237_05

Matt Hewson

Robert Gartland has been recognised for his decades of work in service to the Geelong community with a Medal of the Order of Australia.

Mr Gartland, 70, was awarded the King’s Birthday honour for his work in a wide range of community roles, including 12 years as a Geelong Football Club board member, an advocate for the soon-to-open Geelong Sports Museum and various taskforce and management committees.

But the retired businessman is perhaps most proud of his work as one of the founding ambassadors, fundraisers and current patron of Anam Cara House Geelong.

Mr Garltand was approached in 2006 by Anam Cara founder Diane Wright and was instrumental in helping establish the not-for-profit palliative care hospital, along with Frank Costa and Fr Kevin Dillon.

“The idea of helping to create a community hospice, that gave the people and families of Geelong a choice around end-of-life, was really compelling for me,” Mr Gartland said.

Opened in 2007 at St Mary’s Presbytery, the original hospital eventually outgrew the site, with the new Anam Cara House opening at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds last year.

“We are now caring for our guests and their families, in our unique new facility, in a wonderful home like environment,” he said.

“It’s such a beautiful place. Our staff and volunteers are just incredible and I am so proud to now be the patron of Anam Cara House Geelong.”

Mr Gartland said he felt “honoured and proud, but also humbled” to receive recognition for his work in the community.

“I love this city, its people and our history,” he said.

“I’m supported in this by my whole family and my wife in particular and I’m privileged to be able to do the work that I’ve been able to do and to help effect some positive change in a small way across the range of different things that I’ve been involved in.

“I’d like to continue doing things for my community for as long as I’m able.”