Bentley: SwanCare staff celebrate long service

Long-term employees Kim George and Joy Sullivan at SwanCare. Picture: Matt Jelonek
Long-term employees Kim George and Joy Sullivan at SwanCare. Picture: Matt Jelonek

WHEN Kim George and Joy Sullivan started working at SwanCare there were no computers, no fax machines and staff collected their weekly salary in cash filled envelopes.

And while times may have changed – not least office technology – the colleagues agree that many things have stayed the same at the organisation, particularly the supportive and friendly environment.

This month, the pair celebrated 36 and 35 years of service at SwanCare respectively, having started working as receptionists and office juniors in the early 1980s.

Since then, they have had their own elderly parents move in and pass away at the Bentley retirement village, and Mrs Sullivan has met and married her husband, who worked as the electrician and maintenance supervisor for 32 years.

“I don’t think I could have found a better place to work…it’s never been a chore to come to the office every day and it’s always been busy and challenging,” Mrs Sullivan said.

“I remember when I first started working there were no fax machines and we answered our telephone calls on an old manual PBX switchboard, while staff received their weekly pay packet in cash which was then followed by cheques.

“So much has changed but the various different jobs I’ve done have always been interesting; 35 years has gone by very quickly, but we’re still helping people, it’s just the next generation of families.”

Kim George started as an office junior in 1980 and said when she first started working the adding machine was big and bulky and had a lever, and she had to learn what a computer was.

“I’ve had lots of different jobs in administration over the years and I’ve learnt along the way, whether that’s been computers or other office equipment; I’ve definitely grown with my roles and SwanCare has been a really happy place to work,” she said.

“I’ve always found colleagues look out for each other and, during the course of your working day, you can do little things to help residents and that makes you feel really good.

“One thing’s for sure; I don’t think either Joy or I have any plans to retire just yet.”