Category Archives: News

In December 2016 Peter Newton AO stood down as President of RCA after six and a half at the helm. 

Building on strong foundations laid by the previous President Dr Donald Sinclair OAM, Peter’s time in office has been exemplified by improvement in communication, co-operation and shared endeavour between Foundations and Support Groups. Ryder-Cheshire continued to mature from a collection of like minded but separate groups into a cohesive organisation with strong networks and shared aspirations for the overseas and Australian homes.

In 2000 President of RCF Victoria, Peter wrote a paper entitled ‘The Way Ahead’ which made for extending the work of Ryder-Cheshire into Timor-Leste, our close neighbour in dire need of assistance. This move was embraced by the organisation as a pathway to renewal. Our supporter base, Raphael benefited accordingly, and rugged beginnings Domin (KD) has flourished.

As President of RCA Peter led from the front and nurtured the ideals of our Founders. We thank him for his vision and leadership.

Peter continues to serve in the role of Project Officer (Timor-Leste) with responsibility for Klibur Domin.  He is on both the Board of Directors of RCA and the Board of Management of Klibur Domin, and maintains a close advisory relationship with the Director of Klibur Domin, Joaquim Soares.

The following thanks to Peter on his retirement as National President, are just a few from individual Ryder-Cheshire supporters and groups across Australia and overseas

 “On behalf  of the Board of Management,  staff, patients and their families  please accept our  thanks and appreciation for  your excellent commitment and dedication to Ryder Cheshire and Klibur Domin.  We thankyou for your great leadership and dedication and in particular during the last six years as National President of Ryder Cheshire Joaquim Soares, Klibur Domin

 “Luckily for all of us Peter is going nowhere, rather he has chosen to share the load a bit and focus more of his time on Klibur Domin as it goes from strength to strength. He is a wonderful asset to RCA”
Rory McEwen, RCA National President

 Since assuming presidency of the Homes at Ivanhoe I’ve come to know Peter quite well and have been most impressed with his loyalty to Ryder-Cheshire and particularly to RCA’s Klibur Domin commitment. .It is my privilege to know him and I wish him all the very best in his continued association with Ryder-Cheshire Australia and Klibur Domin”
Don Hamilton, Ivanhoe, Victoria

  “I first met when he came to Bendigo to solicit donations from Rotary Clubs Klibur Domin. It has been a privilege to support Ryder-Cheshire Australia with Peter at the helm. Peter and Helen are always kind and caring and I am proud to call them my friends”.
Hugh Elphinstone, Bendigo Support Group, Victoria

 “On behalf of the NSW Committee, I would like to extend our warmest thanks to Peter for his untiring leadership of RCA, wholehearted commitment to the work of the Foundation and wonderful devotion to our Timor-Leste project On a personal note, I offer my deep appreciation for his guidance, patience and support offered to me during the time of his Presidency. We are very fortunate that he has agreed to continue to play a role in the Foundation’s future”.
Chris Hannan, President RCF NSW

 “Peter, when I first met you at the Sydney Biennial Conference, some few years back, it was your encouragement to become involved that gave me the motivation to really get in and do work for the relief of. At that Conference, I spoke about Ryder-Cheshire becoming more involved in our schools with the young people and you responded by saying, “Dianne that is a job for you, go ahead and do it.”   I was amazed at your trust and belief that a new comer to the organization was given immediate permission to get going. And that is what I did with the Ballarat Support Group”.
Dianne McGrath, President Ballarat Support Group, Victoria

 …..  And Father Ted Burns refers to  Peter’s Dream
“To visit Klibur Domin is to see a dream realized…Peter’s dream…and like all Ryder-Cheshire people, I’m  proud to be part of it, as it continues to grow and flourish.  It was no surprise to me that Peter’s dream worked, his administrative skills were highly respected in the RAAF. But there was much more than that…as a Commanding Officer Peter had what every Chaplain (literally) prays for in a leader, a genuine concern for the people under his command. This is what Peter Newton brought to broken Timor- Leste in 2000…and the benefits for the people of Klibur Domin region are incalculable.”
(Father) Ted Burns, Victoria


Following the retirement of Peter Newton, RCA National President for six years, we welcome our newly appointed President, RORY McEWEN, of South Australia.

Rory McEwen

In December 2016 Rory McEwen was appointed President of RyderCheshire Australia for a two year term, succeeding Peter Newton. Rory has volunteered at Klibur Domin and plans to visit Raphael this year. He also plans to visit all our Foundations and Support Groups as time allows.

Rory’s wife Diane has been actively involved with Ryder Cheshire in Mount Gambier since 1972 and Rory is currently president of RCF SA.

After achieving degrees in agriculture and management Rory completed his national service, and began a career with the department of TAFE, ultimately becoming manager of TAFE’s Rural and Horticultural Program in South Australia. Active in local government, in 1997 he was elected to the South Australian Parliament as an Independent and this was the start of a challenging and demanding new career in which he remained for six years. He held a range of portfolios including Agriculture Food and Wine, Forestry, Local Government and State Federal Relations.

After retiring, Rory joined a number of boards in private enterprise and government. He is very active in the community, serving as the President of his Lions Club this year, involved in Legacy, Ulysses, and events like Lions Mad Minute and the Christmas Toy Run. Two grandchildren have now added a new dimension to his and Diane’s lives. He is looking forward to working with a talented board to build on the great foundations laid down by Peter Newton and his predecessors, focussing on the relief of suffering.

Covering the first four months since his appointment, Rory gave this report at the recent meeting of the RCA Board.

“As I ease into the role Peter Newton has chosen to step back from after six years, leading us with distinction, it is great to see how well the Board and the team at large perform. Everybody who has a role just seems to get on with it. You will see this in the individual reports presented to the AGM. I am mindful that any successful organisation needs to have an eye on continual renewal and continuous improvement. Both these topics will remain the theme for the Board and I trust equally for our Foundations, Support Groups, Homes and Friends Groups. There is no one right way, we all need to do what suits our specific circumstances, but equally learn from and share ideas with each other. The greatest challenge is always that of raising sufficient funds to support and grow our overseas homes. The Biennial Conference next year will again be a key occasion to share and grow and planning is well underway.

I am certainly looking forward to the year ahead. Di and I are hoping to catch up with as many of you as we can and I plan to visit Raphael in early October.”

Kindest regards to you all.


Ballarat Grammar School Raises Funds for Raphael

Bina Day began in 1978 at the Ballarat Grammar Junior School when the school sponsored their first Little White House resident at the Raphael Ryder-Cheshire International Centre in Dehra Dun, Northern India. Her name is Bina and she went on to study nursing. Raphael has been operating for 59 years.

The Assistant Principal, Julian Hopkins said, ‘We now sponsor six children and one adult with disabilities at Raphael.’

‘The school was buzzing with all the students’ excitement for their 2017 Bina Day. They organized the stalls and activities to raise the funds. They set up cake stalls, environment stands, busking and lots of fun games.’ From Ballarat Courier 3rd May 2017

Lots of goodies to chose from.

Brigadier Arun Bhatnagar, CEO Raphael, sent through a message of encouragement to the students. ‘Last year, I and my wife had the pleasure of meeting some students from Ballarat Grammar School, while we were in Ballarat attending the Ryder-Cheshire Biennial Conference. We were moved to see the commitment of the students for reaching out to support our residents at Raphael. This in itself speaks volumes of the ethos of your school and the values you are cultivating in the GenNext. Hats off, indeed!

Even in the rain Bina Day is fun.

‘The magical day is a ‘kids’ zone’ where adults are politely asked to stay away. We generally regard Bina Day as the most exciting and wonderful day of the year, largely because it is the students who make it all happen – with a little assistance from their families and teachers. ‘Bina Day by children- for children.’ From Ballarat Grammar Junior School Newsletter 31st March 2017

Mark Warwick, Head of the Ballarat Grammar Junior School reported, ‘Bina Day once again surpassed all our expectations in terms of young children taking responsibility for their actions, working hard for the benefit of others less fortunate and developing their entrepreneurial skills…Bina Day is truly an amazing and wonderful day. We were very very impressed with the work of the Year Six Committees who undertook to ensure this day was a success. We had some former members of the staff attend the opening which helped incorporate some of the history and values around the meaning of Bina Day.’ From Ballarat Grammar Junior School Newsletter 28th April 2017

Julian Hopkins, Ballarat Grammar School AP, introducing original Bina Day teachers from 1978.

Members of Ballarat Ryder-Cheshire assisted with the opening of the day. A special Bina Day anthem was sung. The new teachers to the school were inducted with a Bina Day First Aid kit consisting of an L-plate, two Panadols and Ferrero Rocher chocolates to assist them survive the day!

Dawn Manning, Ballarat Ryder-Cheshire School Liaison Person, commented that, ‘The energy level of the children for helping others in the cause for the relief of suffering was so special. Their compassion for world wide and local humanitarian causes is just outstanding and so well received.’

Dawn Manning and Julie Brusaschi at Bina Day. Derek Smith was the photographer.

Dawn attended the School Assembly after Bina Day to thank the school for their work and long time dedication and also to present Ryder-Cheshire badges to the students who undertook the research into the history of Bina Day.

Bina Day raised $6800. These funds are used to support their seven Raphael residents and also to give to other worthy humanitarian causes.

Telling My Story – A Life in Nursing

Ondria Cheeseman has always wanted to write a book since her early days.

It was her volunteering experience at Klibur Domin in 2014 that pushed her along her bucket list giving her the much needed motivation to write and realize her dream.

At the age of three, Ondria needed to be hospitalized for heart surgery. She knew then that her calling was to nursing. That was in 1966 and fifty years on Ondria is still nursing.

She trained at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Upon her graduation she worked in Northern Territory, Western Australia, Papua New Guinea in the Duke of York Islands and Bougainville.

Ondria met her husband, Leicester, in Papua New Guinea and went to live in his homeland New Zealand, where they raised their three children.

Returning to Australia they settled in Ballarat, Victoria. Ondria worked in a variety of nursing positions and developed a serious interest in palliative care. This has been her main area of nursing in recent years.

About four years ago, she tried to retire, “I didn’t work out as I didn’t want to tidy my cupboards!”

Papua New Guinea made such a strong impression on Ondria, so much so, that she decided to go down that path again.

Ondria responded to an advertisement in the Ballarat Courier asking for volunteers to work at the Ryder-Cheshire overseas homes. Her credentials led her to the Klibur Domin Health Facility in Timor-Leste in 2014.

Ondria with the KD Stop Smoking resources

Whilst there she wrote up some basic procedures for medical conditions such as heart attacks, diabetes, asthma, stop smoking, high blood pressure and common cold. These procedures have been translated into the local language, Tetum. Upon her return to Ballarat, Ondria assisted the Ballarat Support Group under the guidance of the Director of Klibur Domin, Sr Joaquim Soares, to develop and design stop smoking educational resources materials to be used at Klibur Domin. These materials were financed through the generosity of the Ballarat Loreto College students. The students presented the no smoking materials to Sr Joaquim when he visited their College last year.

“Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste are two countries who face so many challenges in their health systems. My goal was always to work out how to make the most of what they have and perhaps just add a little more in which is both culturally acceptable and achievable, but still not be surprised if it is not as sustainable as I thought it might be and to just accept the reality of life. I wanted to learn from the local people and not to impose my ways on them.”

Ondria has achieved her goal on her bucket list. Nursing, Challenges, Laughter and Tears is finished and will be launched on Sunday 18th June at the Buninyong Bowls Club at 2pm. Her story is one spanning over fifty years of nursing. It is a down to earth recollection of her memories which are both humorous and touching. It is definitely an enjoyable must read.

“I have finished my book now and possibly will also finish work this year – perhaps it is time to tidy my cupboards!”

Ondria Cheeseman is a member of the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation Victoria-Ballarat Support Group.

Ballarat Support Group members at Ondria’s Book Launch in Buninyong

 Nursing, Challenges, Laughter and Tears can be purchased for $30 from:
Ryder-Cheshire Homes Victoria, 10-14 Donaldson Street, Ivanhoe, VIC (03) 9254 2400

Ondria Cheeseman

For Valour – an account of Leonard Cheshire’s wartime experiences

The Ryder Cheshire Foundation was founded by Sue Ryder and Leonard Cheshire.  This article about Leonard’s wartime experience is reprinted with kind permission of the editor of the magazine 90 Flypast August 2016.

 With four tours and 102 ‘ops’, many people regard Leonard Cheshire as the RAF’s greatest bomber pilot. Graham Pitchfork profiles an outstanding man.

For Valour.jpg

During his time at Merton College, Oxford. Chester born Leonard Cheshire joined the famous University Air Squadron. Mobilized at the outbreak of war he trained as a bomber pilot, flying with the Whitley-equipped 102 Squadron.

On the night of November 12/13, 1940 his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire over Cologne, igniting a flare in the bomb bay. A fierce fire was put out by the crew and Cheshire managed to bring the crippled bomber and its wounded crew back to base. He was awarded an immediate DSO, a very rare honour for a pilot officer. Continue reading For Valour – an account of Leonard Cheshire’s wartime experiences