Our History

65 Years of Caring

mecwacare is an organisation founded by a group of volunteers concerned about the elderly and vulnerable in their local area, and is a unique story of a community caring for itself.


The City of Malvern develops plans for the area’s first senior citizens’ centre. Dances are held to raise funds for the project. In 1958, the new centre is built next to the Malvern Cricket Ground. In 1959, a volunteer committee is formed and named ‘the Malvern Elderly Citizens Welfare Association,’ or ‘MECWA’.


In 1964, MECWA begins its meals on wheels service and opens its first opportunity shop in Malvern to raise funds to support services. In late October 1969, a second op shop opens in Malvern East.


MECWA House in Warner Street, Malvern expands with the development of a 28-bed hostel and 18 self-contained flats. The extension serves growing demand for services.

The Barry Fenton Centre and Fisher Street Centre, both in Malvern East, are acquired. The meals on wheels service is based in Fisher Street and prepares more than 50,000 meals a year.


A church-owned property on the corner of Burke Road and Manning Road in Malvern East becomes a MECWA day centre in 1983. In 1987, a home care relief program is offered for carers supporting those with Alzheimer’s disease and other related conditions.


After a significant extension, MECWA House is renamed the Olive Miller Nursing Home. In 1998, MECWA opens an aged care facility in Prahran: the Sir Donald and Lady Trescowthick Centre. Community housing units in Glen Iris are also opened.

The organisation begins providing home-based care and services for clients. Government funding is introduced for some home care services.

Rivendell House Day Care Centre opens in 1999.


In 2007, the continuing growth of MECWA’s services called for a change in the organisation’s name, with MECWA becoming ‘mecwacare’. The new name represents its broader focus as a major provider of care services across Melbourne and regional Victoria.

In February 2010, mecwacare opens its largest facility to date, the Malvern Centre, with beds for 120 residents.


mecwacare aquires properties in Hamlyn Heights, Traralgon, Terang, Mont Albert North, Box Hill and Westmeadows.

To address rising house prices and higher costs of living, mecwacare opens three affordable housing sites in Sandringham, Glen Iris and Beaumaris.

New residential aged care services launch with the opening of the John Atchison Centre, Annie’s Court, Calwell Manor and Squires Place.

The May Armstrong Centre opens in 2017.

We begin our Home Care Packages program in October 2013 after a successful tender.

In 2019, mecwacare’s 60th anniversary, the 41-bed Jubilee House nursing home opens in Caulfield.

Two opportunity shops open in Hawthorn and Reservoir.


In 2020, mecwacare sets the standard for luxury retirement living with the opening of Robin Syme, a high-end retirement village, located next to the Malvern Centre aged care home.

In 2021, mecwacare acquires Ballan Health, with the site including two aged care homes, a retirement village, a medical clinic and allied health services, furthering the reach of our services in regional Victoria. mecwacare announces plans to invest $20 million into a refurbished luxury aged care residence, with an expected completion date of 2024.

2021 also saw the opening of mecwacare’s newest opportunity shop in Ballan.

Into the Future

mecwacare’s residential services continue to grow with a full program of refurbishments, including the redevelopment of the Simon Price Centre in Mont Albert North – now completed and open, and the development of John Hood Terrace in Richmond, due to be completed in late 2024.

mecwacare today

Following a move from Malvern East in 2015, mecwacare’s Corporate Services, Home and Community Care South East Metro Service and Home Care Packages Service now operate out of an office in Malvern Road, Malvern.

Fisher Street Centre in Malvern East provides day programs for people with disabilities, including skills building, education, vocation and inclusion support, and leisure activities. Services to people with a disability are growing significantly, both as centre-based programs and as care and respite services provided in clients’ homes, where clients range in age from infants to the elderly. mecwacare is also a registered NDIS provider.

mecwacare’s community centres, Barry Fenton Centre in Malvern East and Rivendell House in Pakenham, offer programs for people with dementia, people with an acquired brain injury and older adults looking for social integration and inclusion. Increasing demand for services in the Cardinia Shire has also resulted in the expansion of Planned Activity Groups to Garfield, Koo Wee Rup and Emerald, and in 2020, Cowes on Phillip Island.

Home and Community Care Services have expanded considerably, with offices in the Melbourne CBD, Pakenham, Malvern and Westmeadows. In 2013, we established an office in Ballarat, marking the first time the mecwacare has provided care outside of metropolitan Melbourne. The South West Region Office operates out of Ballarat, providing services across a large area of south-western Victoria. mecwacare has since opened offices in Greensborough, Inverloch and Geelong, with the Melbourne CBD and Greensborough offices relocating to the Keilor East office in 2020, and the Keilor East office now having relocated to Westmeadows.

mecwacare now has 18 aged care homes in Malvern, Glen Iris, Prahran, Richmond, Canadian (Ballarat), Caulfield North, Darley (Bacchus Marsh), Flemington, Mont Albert North, Hoppers Crossing, Westmeadows, Ballan, and Altona North. There are also homes in regional Victoria’s in Hamlyn Heights (Geelong), Traralgon, and on the Mornington Peninsula, in Safety Beach, Shoreham and Mornington.

More recently, we have expanded Community Housing to provide 89 units to people over 65 or people with a disability, who are financially and socially disadvantaged. There are fully renovated units in Beaumaris, Sandringham and Glen Iris. mecwacare also has six retirement villages in Malvern, Ballan, Pascoe Vale, Berwick, Canadian (Ballarat) and Hoppers Crossing.

The original Malvern opportunity shop is still operating, along with four other stores in Malvern East, Windsor, Ballan and Hawthorn. Our many volunteers are the heart and soul of these stores, which are vital to our not-for-profit organisation. All funds raised go towards caring for our residents and clients.

From humble beginnings in Malvern, mecwacare now provides care services in all 31 local councils of metropolitan Melbourne, and across a substantial area of regional Victoria. With a strategic plan for service growth, mecwacare is always seeking opportunities to expand its services, and provide care and support to the Victorian community.

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