About Us

Local communities have complex, evolving needs and in 2021 we began exploring how we could deliver better healthcare as a unified service. With the community’s support Dhelkaya Health was created on 1 March 2022.

Coming together as Dhelkaya Health follows years of collaboration and partnership between our three health services.

Here you will find information on the following:

Annual Reports

It’s been a significant year of achievements across all areas of our services in 2022-23. Read all about it in our most recent Annual Report.


Our RAP is a statement of our commitment to stand with First Peoples. Healthy futures should belong to First Peoples. As the primary provider of health and wellbeing services to the people of this shire, we have an enormous responsibility to leverage our services to address the determinants that impact on health outcomes. Read about this work in our RAP.

Strategic Plan

The 2023-26 Strategic Plan is the very first such plan for our newly integrated organisation. Read all about how our future looks for the next three

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors meets on the last Monday of each month to deal with a formal agenda, and the CEO reports on the health service’s performance. Meetings commence at 6.30 pm in the Board Room at Dhelkaya Health. The Board of Management holds one open access board meeting annually, which the general public may attend. This meeting is in addition to the Annual General Meeting.

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Ms Vanessa Healy, Board Chair

Vanessa is a public and environmental health management consultant who has worked extensively in local and state government public and environmental health service delivery and practice, emergency management and cross-organisational community-related projects and to the private sector, including peak industry bodies.

Vanessa’s background includes experience working as an environmental health officer in local government in Victoria, including roles such as team leader, researcher at Monash University’s School of Rural Health, and governance in primary health care services.

Vanessa’s appointment term is from 1 March 2022 to 30 June 2024.

Vanessa’s background includes experience working as an Environmental Health Officer in Local Government in Victoria including roles such as Team Leader, research at Monash University’s, School of Rural Health, and governance in primary health care services.

Vanessa’s appointment term is from 1 March 2022 to 30 June 2024.

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Ms Cindy Schultz-Ferguson

Cindy brings an extensive background in governance, strategy and change management through line management and consultancy roles in public and private organisations in Australia and globally. Cindy also has a strong commitment and experience in ensuring the consumer voice is integral to medical and health service research, development and delivery. While continuing to work in a small not-for-profit in inner Melbourne, Cindy also resides in the Mount Alexander Shire.

Cindy’s appointment term is from 1 March 2022 to 30 June 2024

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Ms Peggy Ronnau, Board Director

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science and a keen interest in community wellbeing, Peggy brings strong knowledge of the service sector and experience as a corporate services executive. She has long been an advocate for improved mental services. She has worked with homeless people in inner Melbourne who experience mental illness and in the Local Government sector, encouraging others to redesign their work roles to build better jobs.

Peggy’s appointment term is from 1 March 2022 to 30 June 2023.

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Mr James Downing, Board Director

James is an experienced executive holding many senior positions spanning Operations, Sales and marketing and Business Leadership in organisations with different financial imperatives involving significant business transformation and team building.

James’s appointment term is 1 March 2022 to 30 June 2024

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Ms Margaret Lewis, Board Director

Appointment: 1 March 2022 to 30 June 2023
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Mr Jeff Rigby, Board Director

Jeff is a corporate governance professional with a 20-year track record serving as an independent adviser on Boards. This track record is founded on extensive experience in the Victorian public water utility sector through successive positions held over 15 years as Managing Director of three regional water utilities. Jeff’s part-time non-executive director positions include public sector entities (waste and resource recovery; adult and community education), National and State industry associations and non-government service organisations for people with disabilities. Jeff is currently an independent external member of audit and risk committees for three Victorian local government entities.

Jeff’s appointment term is from 1 March 2022 to 30 June 2025.

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Ms Shan Wellham, Board Director

Shan is an energetic technology leader and business-enabler experienced in delivering transformative services to enterprise and government. Shan is strategically future-focussed and enjoys making the complex simple while bringing life and meaning to technology strategy for customers. Her aim is building psychological safety within and across teams and driving performance through personalised development activities based on strengths and interests.  Shan is focused on delivering value to organisations and the community through effective governance, technology expertise, commercial acumen and balancing risk with opportunity.

Shan’s appointment term is from 1 March 2022 to 30 June 2025.

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Ms Alexandra Randall L’Estrange, Board Director

Lexi is a founder and director of health, technology, and social innovation. She has over a decade of experience in leadership and governance for social purpose in Australia and internationally. Lexi strongly focuses on measurable outcomes in all her roles, drawing on her diverse background in STEM, business, and grassroots change.

Lexi’s appointment term is from 1 March 2022 to 30 June 2025.

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Dr Heather Holst, Deputy Chair

Heather has worked for over 30 years in the housing and homelessness sector in Melbourne and regional Victoria as a volunteer, frontline worker, manager and board member. Heather wrote a history of Castlemaine for her PhD and is an Adjunct Lecturer in History at UNSW. Heather is the Commissioner for Residential Tenancies and a panel member reviewing the social housing regulation in Victoria.

Heather’s appointment term is from 1 March 2022 to 30 June 2024.

Executive Team

Sue Race – Chief Executive Officer

Melodie Heland – Executive Director Clinical & Aged Care Services

Kerryn James – Executive Director Community Services & Wellbeing

Shannon Vaughan – Executive Director Quality, Development & Improvement

Jason Stevens – Executive Director Corporate Services

Vicky Mellington – Executive Director People, Safety and Culture

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Dr Claudia Meyer

Claudia is a Senior Research Fellow with the Research Institute, combining her research skills with clinical physiotherapy experience (AHPRA registered), for the benefit of older people and their carers. She leads implementation of research evidence into practice for older individuals, staff, and management for falls prevention and dementia care across the spectrum of community and residential care.

She is an Adjunct Research Fellow in Monash University’s Rehabilitation, Ageing and Independent Living Research Centre and the Flinders University College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and an Honorary Associate in the Centre for Health Communication and Participation at La Trobe University.

Claudia is President and Chair of the Australian Association of Gerontology Board, student/early career representative for the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics Asia-Oceania region and participation in various committees. She engages with local communities through a Dementia Alliance, dementia networks and community presentations.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors oversees the governance of Dhelkaya Health and ensures that its services comply with Dhelkaya Health’s by-laws. Several sub-committees consisting of the Board, Staff, Visiting Medical Officers and community members advise and recommend on relevant matters.

Audit, Finance & Risk Committee

This Committee reviews and monitors risks associated with financial management, including liquidity, solvency, and long-term sustainability risks. The Committee also:

  • oversees the Capital Equipment Replacement Program and all major capital projects
  • monitoring compliance with laws, regulations, standards and internal controls
  • monitoring strategic and operational risks
  • developing and overseeing internal audit plan
  • reviewing draft annual accounts and relevant risk policies and procedures.

Remuneration Committee

The Remuneration Committee meets up to three times per year and is responsible for advising and making recommendations to the Board concerning the performance of the Chief Executive Officer, executive staff remuneration, executive recruitment and terms and conditions of employment.

Consumer Advisory Committee

The Community Advisory Committee provides a voice for the Mount Alexander community. It meets every two months to:

  • represent and advocate for the community
  • reflect on and present community issues
  • coordinate community engagement
  • review consumer experience and feedback data
  • provide perspective and possible solutions for issues relating to access and equity, including disability and culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • provide insights and advice about how Dhelkaya Health is meeting the needs of consumers and the community
  • advise the board and health service on consumer, carer and community views on health service development, planning and quality improvement.

It is important that the Committee represent the diversity of our community and provide a voice regarding healthcare needs.

The Committee works with management and Board member representatives to advise on community perspectives of service development and delivery.

Health Equity and Community Wellbeing Committee

The Community Health and Wellbeing Committee aims to ensure that services provided by Dhelkaya Health meet our communities’ current and emerging needs and that the views of the community, users and providers are considered. The Committee will also support effective links and strategic relationships between Dhelkaya Health and other local health and community services, promote environments in which people can be healthy, with a focus on prevention and guide service planning that reduces inequalities in health status and outcomes.

Clinical Governance, Quality & Safety Committee

The Clinical Governance, Quality, and Safety Committee aims to ensure that the community receives high-quality and safe care close to home and that Dhelkaya Health is committed to constantly improving all clinical and care services. The Committee meets bi-monthly to review and analyse information detailing the clinical care activities undertaken at Dhelkaya Health.

Dhelkaya Health are looking to develop long term partnerships with suppliers that are adaptable and innovative, who take accountability, and who can help deliver real and lasting value.

Expressions of Interest

There are currently no expressions of interest open at Dhelkaya Health.

Safe Patient Care Act

In compliance with the Safe Patient Care Act (Nurse to Patient Ratios) Amendment Act 2019, Dhelkaya Health rosters nurses according to the information below.

Mixed Wards

  • Geroe Acute/Postnatal: 20 beds
  • Name of the mixed ward: Geroe
  • Total number of occupied beds in the mixed ward: 20 beds (3 Postnatal and 17 Acute)
  • Expected number of occupied beds in each portion of the ward during the following six-month period: 15

This information is correct as at February 2024 with next review due August 2024.

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Health and Safety Policy

Dhelkaya Health is committed to workplace health, safety and wellbeing. We recognise the importance of:

  • Continuously improving health and safety in all operations and organisational activities
  • Acknowledging the integral role of adequate consultation and cooperation in achieving work health and safety
  • Promoting the behaviours, values and attitudes required to build a culture of safety among our people through ‘felt leadership’ and ‘safety always’
  • Commitment from all people at Dhelkaya Health, including employees, contractors, students, volunteers, patients, residents, clients and visitors.

We are committed to the provision and maintenance of a healthy and safe workplace.

We comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) and associated relevant legislation, codes of practice and standards.

To achieve this, we:

  • Use a safety management system based on systematic identification, assessment and control of hazards at all levels.
  • Ensure that appropriate facilities, services, training and education empower people to contribute to health and safety management processes and the health, safety and wellbeing of themselves and others.
  • Ensure those involved with our organisation in a work capacity are aware of our workplace health and safety compliance requirements and recognise that reporting near misses, hazards, and incidents is a vital part of the safety management process.
  • Ensure fair and equitable consultation between our people to identify and implement appropriate controls and preventative measures that mitigate workplace safety issues.
  • Continuously improve workplace health safety management by developing and reviewing measurable health and safety objectives.
  • Encourage a workplace environment where participation, innovation, communication and safe work practices between our people are valued and supported.

Child Safe Policy

Dhelkaya Health is committed to:

  • Enhancing the well-being of children in our services by ensuring their safety and by providing services in a safe environment free from physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, violence and/or preventable injury.
  • Empowering and actively involving children in decision-making, respecting their choices and acknowledging that they are active participants in their services.
  • Maintaining internal systems to protect children from abuse, such as:
    • Risk identification and mitigation.
    • Working with Children Checks for all staff providing services to children.
    • Staff training and development
    • Incident management systems.
    • Feedback management systems.
  • Providing a consistent, sensitive and timely response to children who experience abuse or neglect or where abuse or neglect is suspected. 
  • Responding to allegations of misconduct or abuse in ways that ensure children are protected from future harm.
  • Maintaining legal responsibilities for reporting and cooperating with agencies, such as Police and Government, in safeguarding children.
  • Designing and delivering services in accordance with the Child Safe Standards and the following principles:
    • promoting the cultural safety of Aboriginal children.
    • promoting the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds.
    • promoting the safety of children with a disability.
    • Promoting Dhelkaya Health’s ‘Code of Conduct When Working with Children and Young People’.

Gifts & Benefits Register

In accordance with the Victorian Public Sector Commission guidelines, consistent with Standing Directions of the Minister for Finance Instruction 3.4.11, we are committed to publishing a Gift, Benefit and Hospitality register on our website. Read our Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality register. You can also read Dhelkaya Health’s Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Policy and Procedure.


Fire Season Policy

During the fire season, fire danger ratings may affect the delivery of services such as home visits, activity groups, external meetings and operating theatre. Days rated ‘Extreme’ or ‘Catastrophic’ are those most likely to affect the running of services. For all enquiries on these days, clients should phone:

  • Community Health & Wellbeing – 5471 3568
  • District Nursing – 5471 3286
  • Adult Day Services – 5471 3566
  • Operating Theatre – 5471 3461
  • General Enquiries – 5471 3555

The Gold Rush (1853)

The Castlemaine District Hospital opened its doors on May 24, 1853, less than two years after discovering gold at Mt Alexander in Central Victoria. The hospital, located on Gingell Street, Castlemaine, provided essential medical and nursing care.

A Place for Refuge (1860)

Separately and after extensive fundraising, the Castlemaine Benevolent Asylum was established in Cornish Street on July 4 1860, following a severe winter. The Asylum gave refuge to those needing food, shelter and clothing. It changed focus to the care of the frail, aged and disabled following the turn of the century and was later renamed ‘Alexander’.

Move to Halford Street (1939)

In 1939, the hospital was relocated to new buildings on Halford Street. The original Gingell Street hospital building was demolished, but the residence of the chief surgeon remains a private house.

Mount Alexander Hostels (1959)

The Mount Alexander Hostels, previously the Castlemaine Benevolent Asylum, commenced operation on the site of ‘Alexander’ in Cornish Street between 1959 and 1962. The hostel provided alternative accommodation for the elderly and frail.

Mount Alexander Hospital (1986)

On July 1, 1986, the Castlemaine & District Community Hospital and ‘Alexander’ amalgamated to become Mt. Alexander Hospital. A major building program commenced in 1994, and all facilities and services were consolidated on the Cornish Street site on December 22 1995, as Castlemaine Health.

Castlemaine Health (1995)

In 1995, the hospital service was renamed Castlemaine Health. Castlemaine Health ran an acute and subacute in-patient facility on the Cornish Street site and a residential care facility. In 2000, the ‘community services’ arm of Castlemaine Health registered as an independent organisation called CHIRP Community Health. Twenty-one years later, Castlemaine Health amalgamated with CHIRP Community Health. The community health service, operating from Mostyn Street, relocated to Cornish Street.

Dhelkaya Health (2022)

In 2022, Castlemaine Health amalgamated with Maldon Hospital. The organisation was renamed ‘Dhelkaya Health’, which means being healthy in the Dja Dja Wurrung language. The service now runs from Cornish Street in Castlemaine and Chapel Street in Maldon and has an Information Hub located with Castlemaine Community House in Templeton Street Castlemaine.

Workspace Australia now occupies the Halford Street building as a business incubator. The Old Nurses’ Quarters, part of the hospital buildings, were demolished in 2023.

Dhelkaya Health is fully compliant with all standards, which is reflective of the high-quality care that is provided to the community:

  • National Safety & Quality Healthcare Service Standards (June 2023)
  • National Disability Insurance Standards (May 2023)
  • Aged Care Quality and Safety Standards (May 2023 Maldon Hospital and May 2023 Castlemaine campus)
  • Human Service Standards (September 2022)

Information Sharing Schemes enable the release of information through the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and Child Information Sharing Scheme.

Requests must be made by an authorised Information Sharing Entity and/or Risk Assessment Entity. The requestor must be verified before releasing information under these schemes.

To request information under one of these schemes, please complete the Family Violence and Child Information Form and email your request to medrec@castlemainehealth.org.au.


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