South West Rocks’ Japara home sails into a new era as The Mariner



Japara South West Rocks has now officially become The Mariner, following substantial renovations and major upgrades over recent years and months. The new name was celebrated as part of the NSW Seniors Festival with an outdoor event at the home, bringing together residents, families, staff, and other members of the South West Rocks community.


Crowd watching the grand opening


With its new amenities and its modern approach to aged care, The Mariner is not only embraced by many in the South West Rocks community but also by the traditional owners, the Dunghutti people. Aunty Cheryl Blair, from the South West Rocks Figtree Descendants Aboriginal Corporation, welcomed residents and visitors to country while giving spectators a better understanding of her people’s close ties to the land. The Welcome to Country was followed by a smoke ceremony and traditional dances that marked the true highlight of the event.


Aboriginal man doing traditional dancing


As the aged care sector falls under the umbrella of the Federal Government, the Member for Cowper, Mr Pat Conaghan MP, helped to officiate the re-naming with the support of beloved Japara resident, Trixie Delaforce, who is a proud 101 years old.


Mr Conaghan said the Federal Government was committed to seeing all seniors receive the “dignity and comfort that they deserve”. He congratulated Japara and The Mariner’s staff for creating “a home, not an aged care facility”.


“A home is not just a building; it is about the people who are in it. I would like to acknowledge the great work that the staff do. The relationships that you build with the residents here are part of making The Mariner a home,” he said.


Pat Conaghan and Trixie Delaforce


The manager of The Mariner, Mr Nick Bannon, said that more than one in three people in South West Rocks was aged 65 years or older, making aged care a critical local issue. Mr Bannon said the home’s new name reflects pride in providing quality care and employment for many while embracing the community’s love of the coastal environment and the appreciation of the rich maritime heritage.

As a term of endearment, some staff now refer to Mr Bannon, as the Captain of The Mariner, who said that he and his “crew” are on a mission to look after the seniors in the region surrounding South West Rocks. Mr Bannon also highlighted that The Mariner does not only provide permanent aged care and respite options but that the home is also specialised in looking after people who have been diagnosed with dementia.

“Our memory support unit, Seaspray, here at the Mariner, has been designed as a stress-free and comfortable environment for people on all support levels”, Bannon said.


Nick Bannon during his speech


Following the official ceremony, a delicious morning tea was served where The Mariner’s new head chef, Bec Ford, put many culinary treats on display that her new kitchen has on offer. The meeting between locals, staff, and residents lead to many engaging conversations and way overdue catchups, especially after a year like no other.

Home Manager Nick Bannon seized the opportunity to offer tours of The Mariner, not only to dignitaries, but also to anyone who wanted to find out more about the many improvements that make this new Japara home so special.


A happy crowd enjoying the event



Enquire today

If you or a loved one are interested in the aged care services available at Japara, contact us to have a friendly chat with one of our staff or to book a tour on 1800 52 72 72.

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