Russell Yelland

Yeltana Nursing Home Redevelopment, Whyalla

Completed: 2016
Client: Whyalla Aged Care Inc.

Thirty years after it opened – when a cheeky Yeltana resident heckled Her Majesty on a mid-80s visit to Whyalla – the nursing home’s latest transformation was celebrated with gusto, albeit a touch less fanfare!

What we did: Aged Care facility redevelopment
Memory Support Unit
Kitchen facilities upgrade

The Cedar Wing is a secure, 16-bed memory support unit designed to activate and assist dementia care patients. Having first added a six-bed wing to the home in 1996, we returned to Spencer Gulf in 2012 to further extend the facility’s acute care capacity. This would be our fourth project for Whyalla Aged Care, in a partnership that now spans almost three decades.

In a marked departure from the traditional medical model, the Cedar Wing is a bright and relaxing space, dotted with landmarks and visual cues that help residents recognise their surroundings. Unique, brightly coloured panels accompany each private room door, inlaid with waist-height, framed glass memory boxes that display personal trinkets and other fond memory triggers. Maximising its position, the rooms in this wing are generous and take in expansive views of the GulfWe captured similar premium vistas in an adjacent sunroom.

As we would later implement at Copperhouse Court, the residential corridor forms a closed loop, promoting resident mobility as an indoor walking track. “clearing” at the loops end is an exercise in visual and spatial relief. Ceilings soar above the communal lounge space, washed by natural light from the clerestory windows above, and suspended pendant lights render the space more homely.  

The existing kitchen on site was a workhorse that serviced all three Whyalla Aged Care facilities, but it struggled to operate comfortably. A full hospitality refit and extension improved functionality and staff comfort during meal preparation, with better extraction and more appropriate storage facilities. Evaporative cooling – although common for the hot, dry Whyalla summers, was replaced with refrigerated air conditioning in this zone, better catering for the busy and humid kitchen environment.

Photography credits:Michael Bodroghy