Burger Centre supporting seniors for 30 years

Eva Fischl OAM, Malcolm Turnbull AC, David Freeman AM and Founding Burger Centre President David Balkin AM at the 2007 Randwick opening

The Burger Centre turns 30 in September! Even though the party may be on hold, it’s worth celebrating an institution that continues to support independent seniors.

As Burger Centre approaches its 30th birthday during an international pandemic, it’s apt to pause for reflection on the centre’s origins. When the idea first arose in the 1980s, the Board of JewishCare at the time committed to the vision of a meeting place offering seniors more than a meal and a bus service, and grander than its then Wolper Cottage.

“The establishment of Burger Centre heralded a move by JewishCare [formerly the Australian Jewish Welfare Society] away from purely migrant-related issues towards the contemporary needs of the time,” explains David Lesnie, one of the founding Board members who helped secure the original site in 1989.

An idea becomes a reality

The Burger Centre first opened its doors in Woollahra in 1991. This new Centre featured a gift shop, hair salon, library, bus and a beautiful grand piano. Opened by then President Norton Whitmont, the Centre was named after major donor, the late David ‘Zoli’ Burger AM. The Centre continued to thrive under new president Eva Fischl OAM, who never missed a chance to celebrate special occasions.

A new home for the Burger Centre

By the end of the 2000s, Montefiore put forward the idea (with support from the JCA) that JewishCare move the centre into a custom-built space on the new Montefiore Randwick aged care campus. Thus, they formed partnership was that has flourished ever since. The new centre, with an expanded and improved range of activities and facilities, opened in 2007.

“Partnering in the Burger Centre was a significant step for Montefiore at the time. As a result, we we able to enhance services available to the community at the newly completed Randwick campus,” says President David Freeman AM. Thirty years on, Burger Centre has grown into the heart of the seniors’ community in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and beyond. And in case you were wondering, the original grand piano remains.

Supporting seniors today and beyond

The Centre is a vital resource with professional and friendly staff and a dedicated volunteer community. It provides an array of activities and programs offering purpose, enjoyment and a sense of belonging with culture and Yiddishkeit. “The founders’ vision has only been realised thanks to the incredible support and generosity of donors, administrators and our community over the years,” says current Senior Manager, Bronwyn Elbourne.

A proud history of striving for best practice and innovation remains core to the Burger Centre’s ethos today. For instance, offering virtual programming and contactless support throughout the pandemic. While a planned celebration is on hold, new clients can take advantage of a special birthday offer post-lockdown: a free trial of a program of your choice.

For more on Burger Centre and its free trial offer, ph: (02) 8345 9147 or visit: burgercentre.com.au

David & Diane Burger at the original opening in 1991

David & Diane Burger at the original opening of the Burger Centre in 1991

Current Burger Centre Senior Manager Bronwyn Elbourne

Current Senior Manager Bronwyn Elbourne.