Step back through history to when it began

Stride’s story began with one person who cared enough to act. See how Emily Paterson changed the face of mental health in Australia with After Care back in 1907, and what’s happened since.

Australia’s longest serving mental health provider

1907 wasn’t the best time for mental health services in Australia. A time of government underfunding and misunderstanding, it led to a situation where many people released from mental health hospitals had to restart their life alone.

Emily Paterson – blind from birth, yet a talented pianist and composer – lived near Gladesville Mental Hospital. She visited patients and often invited them to her home for concerts and afternoon tea, hearing firsthand how hard it was for them to find a job and accommodation after being discharged. Women especially struggled to find support, and Emily became friends with many of them.

From their stories, she decided to create her own solution to the question: What happens when hospital care ends? In this way, Aftercare was born – an association helping people find ‘a safe place to live, a place to work, and friendship’.

Over a century later and Aftercare has changed. Now known as Stride, we provide 50 services across 3 states, employ over 630 staff, and partner with a number of health networks, government and social services.

Despite this transformation, those first principles set down by Emily remain with us as we work to make today a little easier, and tomorrow a little brighter.

Our history

Discover the most significant moments in our history and how we’ve grown over the century.

1905
Emily Paterson starts visiting patients at Gladesville Mental Hospital. Invites them to her place in Rockend for concerts and afternoon tea.
1907
Emily Paterson calls meeting to found the After Care Association of NSW – now Stride. Later that year, forms its first constitution with the primary aim of helping ex-hospital patients find somewhere to live and work.
1928
After Care incorporated as a ‘not for gain’ company. Buys house on Queens Road, Five Dock to move its women’s hostel.
1956
After Care becomes member of the new Mental Health Association.
1980
After Care takes over the Exodus program and opens canteen at Lidcombe Hospital. Newcastle service moves from Fletcher House to Bell Cottage, housing people with mental health conditions and intellectual disabilities.
1984
After Care starts training canteen managers. NSW decriminalises homosexual acts. Image Right: Stride group at the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. ‘Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. Neither do we.’
1986
The Disability Services Act (C/wth) recognises people living with both physical and mental disabilities. Supports trend towards more independent living and employment. Department of Health gives After Care a grant to employ media consultant.
1990
Teen accommodation service, Kurinda opens in Paterson House. Ashfield unit block bought to provide stable housing for people with high support needs. After Care undergoes major restructure. Holds consumer forum – giving voice to people living with mental health conditions.
1999
Changes name from After Care Association of NSW to Aftercare, and updates constitution.
2009
Services expand outside NSW for the first time. Sydney office moved to current location at former Rozelle Hospital.
2010
Aftercare opens first office in Brisbane. Starts running short-term ‘Time Out’ House in Cairns, supporting adolescents at risk of mental health conditions. Prime Minister Julia Gillard appoints a Minister for Mental Health for the first time in Australian history.
2012
Aftercare heads up research team building online program helping people with mental disabilities learn everyday skills. Stride headspace centre opens in Brisbane.
2013
The Federal Government rolls out the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
2014
Aftercare becomes an NDIS provider and opens new services in Victoria and Torres Strait.
2015
Aftercare delivers PIR and PHaMs services in the NDIS pilot site in the Hunter Region. Opens first mental health hub, Floresco in Queensland. Long-neglected Bell St site in Newcastle is refurbished to create more residential accommodation.
2020
Now known as Stride, we provide 50 services across 3 states, employ over 630 staff, and partner with a number of health networks, government and social service.

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