Meredith Lake
Faith in Action: HammondCare
UNSW Press, Sydney, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1742233642

"There's some terrific lessons in here for any Christian organisation to take note of and plenty of stories to personally challenge any reader in their faith and what the outworking of that means in their life."

The story of Robert 'RBS' Hammond and how he came to found the Sydney suburb of Hammondville and the HammondCare organisation is probably one that many Australians aren't aware of. But they should be.

An Anglican minister based in the inner city, Hammond was already a well-known figure when he established 'Pioneer Homes' in 1932 - a settlement created south-west of Sydney with the aim of provided affordable housing for unemployed workers and their families. 

The settlement in time became what is today the Sydney suburb of Hammondville and Hammond's initial vision of helping the needy continued to expand with the formal creation, sometime down the track, of the HammondCare organisation which now operates in numerous locations across Sydney and New South Wales, specialising in dementia and aged care.

Commissioned by HammondCare, historian Meredith Lake's extensively researched book is, on the face of it, a history of the organisation. But open its pages and you'll find much more.

It's not a biography of Hammond - although much of his amazing story is necessarily told here, particularly in the early part of the book - but nor is it a dry record of an organisation's minutes. Dr Lake goes to some lengths to set the social, political and economic scene against which Hammond and the organisation have operated, both at the time of its founding and more recently.

Hammond's role only takes up about a third of the book - the rest examines what happened to the organisation after his death in 1946, charting its ups and downs as it evolved into what it is today.

As well as looking at the sometimes remarkable personalities involved in the subsequent story, Dr Lake takes an indepth look at some of the key issues the organisation has, and continues to, wrestle with - including what caring for people really means and what identity means for a non-denominational Christian organisation.

This book, which features numerous historic photographs, will appeal to those who already have a connection to the story of HammondCare but it's also an engaging read for those who come to it fresh. There's some terrific lessons in here for any Christian organisation to take note of and plenty of stories to personally challenge any reader in their faith and what the outworking of that means in their life.

To buy this book, follow this link,Faith in Action: HammondCare.