SPECIAL REPORT: Rocky Bay celebrates 80 years of helping those who need it most

Jack Morgan with his mum and dad, Ava and Steve, and sister Lucy. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.
Jack Morgan with his mum and dad, Ava and Steve, and sister Lucy. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.

NOT-FOR-PROFIT disability services provider Rocky Bay will celebrate its 80th anniversary with a gala function and historic exhibition on Thursday.

Rocky Bay was established in 1938 to help children living with the effects of Polio and now offers services and support to more than 3000 people of all ages living with disabilities and their families.

There are offices and community hubs from Joondalup to Mandurah.

Rocky Bay chief executive Michael Tait said Rocky Bay continued to be an important member of the WA community.

“Our purpose for many years has been to optimise the quality of life for people living with disability, which is no less important today than it was in 1938,” Mr Tait said.

“Rocky Bay wouldn’t be where it is today without our loyal customers, staff, volunteers, board, partners and supporters, and we thank each and every one for their ongoing support and dedication and helping us to realise our vision.”

The 80th anniversary exhibition and open day will be held on Friday, October 5 in Rocky Bay’s Gym at 60 McCabe Street, Mosman Park from 8.30am-3.30pm.

Jack’s Story

IN the past 12 months, Rocky Bay has set the Morgan family up with an electronic speaking device, epilepsy alarm and workshops for the whole family.

The not-for-profit provides speech and occupational therapy for 14-year-old Jack who has autism, epilepsy, dyspraxia and an intellectual disability.

But parents Steve and Ava and older sister Lucy (18) are not left out.

Steve, who is Jack’s fulltime carer, said the family had completed short courses with Rocky Bay on how to use specific devices and had used the respite service.

“They consider the whole family,” Ava said.

Jack was diagnosed with dyspraxia at age three, autism a year later and an intellectual disability when he started school.

The epilepsy diagnosis came just four years ago and until recently Jack was sleeping in his parents’ bed to ensure they were right there if he had an epileptic fit.

“Rocky Bay has set us up with an epilepsy alarm for Jack’s room so we’re just transitioning him out of our bed,” Steve said.

“But it can take a long time to transition.

“Each time he has a seizure he forgets what he’s learned and things like puberty and tiredness can affect his epilepsy.”

Jack Morgan with his mum and dad, Ava and Steve, and sister Lucy. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.

When Community News caught up with the Morgan family, who live in Leeming, they were on their way to pick up the electronic speaking device, which will replace the pod books Jack has been using.

“In the morning, if he wants toast he can just point to the picture… it reduces frustration and behaviour,” Steve said.

The Morgan’s are currently transitioning to the National Disability Insurance Scheme but it could take two years so Jack won’t be able to access the Protective Behaviours course or dieticians until then.

Their goal, with the help of Rocky Bay, is for Jack to move in to a share home and live independently.

“We want the best we can achieve for him,” Steve said.

Kelly’s Story

KELLY has just finished making a clay plant holder for her sister.

The Rocky Bay Mosman Park client said her sister could grow lavender in the gift that she just needed to put the finishing touches on.

Kelly, who lives independently in Bicton, has been attending Rocky Bay since 1994, four years after she was in a car accident and suffered an acquired brain injury.

Rocky Bay client Kelly. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.

The 46-year-old initially joined the Getabout program that involved social activities with other clients.

She now attends Rocky Bay three times a week doing art classes and physiotherapy and hydrotherapy sessions.

“I’ve built long lasting friendships with the carers here,” Kelly said.

“The therapists have always been there when I’ve needed them.”