Sr. Jane Gorey was honoured with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2016 Australia Day Honours List.
Jane has been a resident carer at the Ryder-Cheshire Victorian Homes in Ivanhoe since 1995. In the early days, there were three resident carers, one for each of the homes within the Ivanhoe complex. They were all members of religious orders and “loaned” to Ryder-Cheshire to work in the homes, pro bono. Through attrition Jane Gorey eventually became the sole resident carer of the 95 bed Victorian Homes.
Accommodation and support is provided to people from country Victoria and interstate, ranging from people with cancer receiving treatment as outpatients at Melbourne hospitals and families of patients in hospital, to returned service personnel undergoing counselling for post-traumatic stress syndrome. Many of the people are physically and emotionally fragile and require a lot of support from the resident carer and the volunteers who work at the homes.
Jane Gorey does an incredible job in both administering the homes and providing caring support to the residents. She lives at the homes and is effectively on duty 24 hours a day seven days a week, providing a welcoming smile and efficient service to residents arriving at all hours of the day and night. She is also often called at any hour to arrange ambulances and emergency treatment for residents. She invariably does this calmly and efficiently and always with a smile. Her background as a teacher provides a firm foundation for her to be able to deal with a lot of people and their problems without ever getting flustered. She has a very humane and caring manner and is genuinely interested in getting to know and providing the best possible advice and support to the residents.
The homes do employ a part-time assistant, but virtually all the manpower resources to operate the homes are provided by volunteers many of whom have been previous residents. Jane Gorey’s engaging and helpful manner encourages the volunteers to want to be part of this humanitarian work and all willingly contribute to help maintain the magnificent service provided by the homes. When she is unavailable, Jane ensures that a suitable volunteer is on duty. The nett result is that they are truly a “home away from home” for the thousands of people who have stayed there during their own difficult times. The many letters of thanks and donations are a constant reminder of the wonderful care provided to these residents and they invariably comment on the outstanding role played by Jane.
Jane Gorey is an exceptional person who willingly gives an enormous amount of herself to helping people who are experiencing physical and emotional trauma. She is completely dedicated to the ideals of the founders of the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation – Sue Ryder and Leonard Cheshire – and to their mission of “the Relief of Suffering”. Jane is a very worthy recipient of an OAM and everyone in the wider Ryder-Cheshire family congratulates her on her achievement.