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Introduction | The Dream | Thanks | The Move | The Future | Thoughts

Kurrumin - The Dream

Kurrumin being built If I wanted Jackson to truly recover, not only did we need a good rehabilitation plan, we needed more space than the kitchen and the side patio. So it was on Monday 27 May 1996 that I went to speak with my business associate, Lend Lease Chairman Stuart Hornery, and shared my dream with him. I told him that I had purchased a level block of land in a beautiful position on the Georges River in Sydney, and I wanted to do something with it. I went away after he said he’d think about it, and very quickly, support started coming. Things started happening.

I was introduced to Doc Holliday from Lend Lease Property Services, and was soon to be introduced to John Barbacetto, Phil Riddell, Mark Sydney and Phillipa Sutton, architects and engineers. And together, combining all our best ideas, we looked at building a home that would allow Jackson to reach his potential best, a home that was markedly different, that suited the Australian environment, that provided wide doorways, the best positioning, lighting, functionality and also privacy. Jackson requires 24 hour care because of his medical condition so that needed to be a part of the plan.

We worked hard and tirelessly - almost a year on the design alone. In fact, the design was possibly the greatest part of ensuring that "Mission Possible" would succeed.

Then it came time to do the building. The building took many more months than anticipated and, as with many homes, today it still evolves. But the time that it is taking to finish is allowing me the opportunity to add even more improvements.

Kurrumin is Aboriginal for "Reflections", and to me it means being able to reflect upon what has happened in my life and also on the direction of our future. Kurrumin, now and tomorrow, will be shared with other differently-abled children. A place where children and carers can come and share our exterior, ramped, heated pool and our interior hydrotherapy pool. This, and our level sensory garden, have made an absolutely huge difference in making Kurrumin accessible and a great place to live and share.

Jackson has a walker that was designed by Kel Anderson. Kel has worked tirelessly with many differently-abled people to assist them with equipment. Not only has he assisted Jackson with his walker, but there are many things he has made for our home (both here and at our previous home).

My mentor and close friend, Marinela Mendes, took the journey with me from its inception, through to completion. Marinela works with Lend Lease in the area of child care, and she was absolutely committed to ensuring Kurrumin worked. And it does.

Close to completion we contemplated colour. Colour Response Technology was employed and with that we chose colours that are healing, colours that are restful. In Jackson’s sleeping area we introduced colours that induce sleep and lower heartbeat. In his play area there are colours of stimulation. My brief was the colours under the sea. All the colours that are incorporated come together. For example, our tiles are sandy colours that flow down onto the beach. Our Australian hardwood floor downstairs is symbolic of driftwood. The carpet upstairs in the private area of our home is a Bremworth, and it looks like seaweed. All the door handles, where possible, are black, so that the visually impaired can see them. They are at 1 metre height. Powerpoints are at 300mm from the floor.

Our home doesn’t advertise disability, in fact it enhances ability. Our window sills, at 600mm, enable someone in a wheelchair to enjoy the water and the views without having any of the pleasures of the Australian landscape denied. Our neighbours here at Kurrumin have all been of great assistance during the long time of building and are also kind and understanding of our integration into the community.

Our kitchen was designed and installed by Tony McNamara, of Kitchens by Karingal. Each cupboard has a different sensory touch, colour and aspect. Once again, it is in line with the theme of being under the sea. Tony teamed up with Abet Pty. Ltd. to look at the best products for the doors, and Abet looked at the best paneling for the wheelchair bathrooms to ensure that if they receive impact from wheelchairs they will not be damaged.

To heat our pool, we looked at the Raypak product, a very quick heating system, based on gas. In Australia we have natural gas, so it is great to be able to use our own products.

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