UnitingCare Queensland pays tribute to Queensland’s first Blue Nurse Olive Smith
UnitingCare Queensland CEO Craig Barke has paid tribute to Queensland’s first Blue Nurse, Olive Smith (nee Crombie), who recently passed away aged 88 years.
Mr Barke highlighted Olive’s role in laying the foundations for what is now known as Blue Care, one of Australia’s largest not for profit providers of aged care.
Mr Barke said Olive’s faith, determination and commitment to help others in need whatever their circumstances and wherever they may live is enshrined in the values and mission of Blue Care today.
“I feel very privileged to lead an organisation which makes a positive impact on thousands of lives every day, continuing the legacy of founders like Olive.
“Olive took on a bold and noble vision, with little resources and next to no assurances to help build a service dedicated to making a difference to so many lives.
“In 1953, Olive set out from West End on a tram to tend to her first two patients with only a small medical kit and a resolute determination to help those in need.
“By the end of the first year, the nursing service had grown to a 24 hour, seven day a week service” Mr Barke said.
Blue Care now has over 8,000 employees supporting over 63,000 people from Thursday Island down to Coolangatta and as far west as Mt Isa and Charleville, making close to three million visits to people needing care.
Olive’s legacy, spirit and philosophy of helping others lives on in the thousands of employees and services Blue Care provides today.
Along with husband Ed, a Methodist Minister, they dedicated their lives to helping others through volunteering and their work and together they helped establish the charities Crossroads and Barnabas House and were both recognised with Order of Australia Medals (OAM).
Olive was Director of Nursing in Ipswich until she retired with her husband Ed to a Blue Care retirement village on the Gold Coast where she continued to volunteer at Crossroads and Barnabas House.