Regenerate the Repat

“Regenerate the Repat” What do you think?

As a member of the RSL this is your chance to have your say.

Immediately after the state election in March, the new Liberal government cancelled the contract with ACH for the sale of the old Repat site.

On 17 May 18 the Minister for Health, the Hon Stephen Wade, MLC, addressed a community meeting that was held in the Colonel Light Gardens RSL club-rooms.

The Minister posed the question – “How can we regenerate the Repat?”

The Minister explained that the re-establishment of a public hospital similar to the old Repat was not possible, but the government was open to a range of different options to best cater for identified community needs. One of these options is to develop part of the Repat site into a “Veterans Precinct.”

The Minister pointed out that some key health assets remain on the site and will be retained eg the Hydrotherapy Pool, Ward 18 (ie the Older Persons Mental Health Ward) some Operating Theatres, Orthotics and Prosthetics, Radiology and a Sleep Disorders Unit.

To help determine the best overall mix for the site, the SA Local Health Network (SALHN) was about to commence a planning process. Among other things, consideration was being given to developing Colonoscopy Services and an Eating Disorders Unit.

A concept plan for the site will be put to community consultation in mid-July and a revised Master Plan will be released in August.

The state government is looking for a range of health service partners – public, non-government and private to join it in the development.

During the meeting the Minister joined the community and stressed the importance of retaining the spirit of the Repat. It has been a military facility since 1942 and the restoration of the military culture link is crucial to any ongoing development.

The Minister has also indicated that he is keen to know the views of the veteran’s community on the use of the term ‘The Repat’ in the name of the new precinct.

What do you think?

Do you want to have a say?

If so, this is your chance. I welcome views from veterans and the public. Simply put your views into an email to

We will be coordinate our views with those of other ESOs and submit them to the state government on your behalf.

The state government has said that your view will be heard.

Initial responses from the veteran community have been positive and suggestions have included:

  • Establishment of a secure veteran mental health facility – something that is not available at the Jamie Larcombe Centre (JLC).

  • Establishment of a step down/step up mental health facility to cater for the overflow from the JLC or for “short term stay” veterans.

  • Restore urology services to the Repat site. Urology services were provided at the Repat and were moved to the Flinders Medical Centre. It is alleged that waiting times have blown out from some weeks to twelve months.

  • Establish a GP facility with veteran priority which can act as a specialist referral centre.

  • Provision of priority service to veterans for any elective surgery that might be relocated to/established on the site.

  • Creation of family accommodation for regional visitors to veteran in-patients, particularly those undergoing treatment at the JLC.

  • Commensurate with the limited facilities that will be re-established on the site, re-establish the Veterans Service Guarantee that was in place at the Repat.

  • Establish a café and some form of gym to help attract younger veterans.

  • Encourage and support the on-site presence of an ex-service organisation (Colonel Light Gardens RSL Sub-Branch has been suggested) with a role that includes custody/care of the RGH Chapel, SPF Hall, the Peace Garden and an associated role in assisting the coordination of commemorative services.

  • Integrate into the development the “memorialisation” of the site through street names, information boards and imagery.

  • Embrace and support RSL Care’s proposed homeless support option.

Sadly, we cannot get the Repat back in its former glory. That ship has sailed!

As an ex-service community what we can try and establish is a working veteran’s precinct that will provide benefit to young and old veterans in the years to come.

At the same time we can ensure protection of the culture of the Repat that served us so well for 76 years. That includes remembering the wonderful men and women who sought treatment at the Repat and those who provided it.

Let us know what you think.

Your opinion does matter.

Bill Denny