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First opened by former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1974, Balyana began with 52 units at the leafy Clapham site, originally referred to as ‘The Motel.’

People with disability moved from their family home to ‘The Motel’ to learn independent living skills, and once proficient with taking care of their bedroom space and daily routines, transitioned into one of the 8 houses on the Balyana property.

In the houses, residents further develop their skills in cooking, shopping, managing finances, and experiencing a community with other Balyana residents, with all of these skills and experiences preparing them to move out into community housing and further pursue their goals, should they choose.

Residents are encouraged to connect with each other in shared spaces, and have fostered a tight-knit and supportive community that remains a hallmark of Balyana living. Residents enjoy community BBQ’s in the covered patio area, and a variety of sports on the courts, or on the wide open oval area, flanked by native Australian flora and fauna (koalas, possums, and magpies make regular visits!)

Many of Balyana’s residents over the years currently (or have previously) worked at Bedford, or attended the Day Options and Experiences programs. Supporting people with disability in such a holistic way from living and working, to learning, creating, and thriving is at the core of Bedford’s purpose - which is all about offering choice.

Balyana’s history also comprises the exceptional care and contributions of the staff who support residents 24/7, creating a safe place for residents to live where they are valued, treated with dignity and respect, and supported to make their own decisions and choices about their lives.

It is not only residents and staff who have enjoyed the flourishing natural beauty of the Balyana grounds over the past 50 years. The in-ground pool at Balyana was a much-loved community landmark and summer meeting place for local families, and is still a formative childhood memory of learning to swim for so many South Australians.

More recently, SA businesses and corporates visited Balyana to enjoy the Conference Room Facilities, and Bedford’s own Lottery team has also moved their base of operations to Balyana. They all bring a sense of energy and activity to the community!

While a lot has changed at Balyana, we are proud to say that in 50 years, the core goals remain the same - to support people with disability to pursue independent living, and to enjoy choice and opportunity with how they live and work.

Happy birthday Balyana.

Please enjoy some of the happy snaps from the day of celebrations.