Lyndoch: time to speak up, step up, and pull back the power

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Carol Altmann – The Terrier

The time has come to use our voices, stand up for Lyndoch and show that Warrnambool will not tolerate bullies, no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they promise.

I have now had contact with 33 people, including past and present Lyndoch workers, about the toxic culture and the warped priorities that have allegedly taken root within its walls. By the end of this weekend, I will have spoken to 36.

We can’t turn away and expect the victims of this culture to fix it; they can’t.

Instead we, as a community of terriers, need to get involved, to step up and hold the Lyndoch board to account for what is unfolding on its watch.

We did this with the Warrnambool City Council credit card scandal and we can do it again.

Some of Lyndoch’s most senior and experienced staff are among the 70 to 80 people who have left in the past two years and the resignations just keep coming, yet the board remains silent.

If this was happening in a primary school, or our hospital, or inside TAFE, it would be front page news.

So would some of the decisions around the use of public funds.

Core business: This photo, recently posted on the Lyndoch Facebook page, shows the worn condition of some of the specialised furniture used by residents. (I have pixelated the image for privacy).

As it stands, Lyndoch Living – as a registered charity – has spent more than $100,000 on gambling via sponsoring a steeplechase and hosting a corporate marquee at the May races, and somehow this passes as core business.

We also know that Lyndoch plans to spend millions of dollars to build and run a new medical centre that nobody has asked for, while at the same time it doesn’t have enough experienced nurses to fill shifts, and basic furniture needs replacing.


I am unable to look on while personal power trips are pursued at the expense of Lyndoch staff wellbeing and, ultimately, the care of our elderly.

So this is what we can do:

contact the board: chair Kerry Nelson ( or any of the other board members: Andrew Paton, Cr Sue Cassidy, Ron Page, Percy Eccles, Kane Grant, Peter Downs, Suzanne Coulson and Lorraine Mielnik via a letter to Lyndoch Living, 10 Hopkins Rd, Warrnambool.

ask the board about staff morale, staff resignations and Lyndoch’s core priorities;

contact our local MP Roma Britnell ( and ask her to investigate, just as her Liberal colleague Cindy McLeish did in response to the troubles at Seymour Health;

write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper which, unfortunately, no longer does investigative journalism;

– most importantly, become a member of Lyndoch: it’s free to apply, can be done by filling out a simple form, and means you can have a say on where Lyndoch is heading and who is in charge.


At the moment, Lyndoch has very few members, including the nine people on the board, two life members (Ron Patterson, David Atkinson), the CEO Doreen Power, and four senior staff.

It’s a tight little shop.

Core business: Lyndoch company secretary Lyanne Vinecombe, board chair Kerry Nelson, CEO Doreen Power and Director of Nursing Julie Baillie all flew to Sydney to see Ms Power receive an industry award. Image: Lyndoch Living.

Under the new rules of Lyndoch (last year it changed from an association to a company limited by guarantee), these members have significant powers, including standing for the board, voting for the board, and being involved in the AGM.

In fact, unless you are a member, Lyndoch has no obligation to even tell you when the AGM will be held.

This is what happened last October when, for the first time, the Lyndoch AGM was not advertised, nor were the board vacancies.

But here’s the rub: the board gets to decide who can become a member of Lyndoch, so even if you apply, you may not be accepted.

It’s open to all sorts of manipulation and perhaps explains why the current board is such a curious mix.

There are no GPs on the board. There is no lawyer.

But there is the former CEO of the Warrnambool Racing Club, Mr Downs, who now lives in Melbourne and works for Moonee Valley: if that’s not a massive conflict of interest between the board and Lyndoch’s support for racing, Barry the Bullshite Detector and I will run three times around the racecourse.

(Actually, Barry, we will need to do four laps, because Ms Power and Mr Downs also have shares in a racehorse.)

The Lyndoch company secretary – a former PA to Ms Power – also has no accounting or legal qualifications, despite now monitoring a multi-million-dollar organisation.

From all the evidence, none of these people in charge are asking the hard questions about Lyndoch’s operations, or none are asking them publicly.

Core business: CEO Doreen Power and board member Cr Sue Cassidy enjoying drinks in the Lyndoch corporate tent at the May Races with tourism head, Liz Price. Image: Lyndoch.

Cr Cassidy, for example, has gone from being a power house to a mouse. The bold woman who stood up and exposed the games behind the council mayoral race has nothing to say about Lyndoch. She won’t return my calls.

Chair Kerry Nelson? Not a word.

They are supposed to be our eyes and ears, yet all we have is silence.

To me, the entire Lyndoch board and senior executive are accountable for the distress of every single Lyndoch person who is suffering or has suffered.

So I am going to keep exposing what I know, and I am going to also apply to become a member of Lyndoch, although I doubt I will be accepted, even though my mother was in Lyndoch for 10 years, and my late Dad, as a bricklayer, helped build some of it.

Warrnambool people started Lyndoch, we still own it, and we all have a stake in caring for its residents, its staff and its future.

What started as an important story for me is now a campaign – unashamedly – to restore a bold community voice inside Lyndoch and to stand up for those who need us to be strong.

On we go.

You can find the Lyndoch membership form here and its new constitution here.

Next: digging into the multi-million-dollar medical clinic.

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14 thoughts on “Lyndoch: time to speak up, step up, and pull back the power”

  1. Enough already.
    These unprovoked attacks on Lyndoch need to stop. They are false and you obviously have an agenda, which we are all curious to know?

    All these fake, beat up blogs and social media slander has already caused public, personal attacks on residents and staff. How dare you!

    Personally if any of this were true I would not be working there. I have high morals and integrity and your slander and innuendo is offensive to me and my colleagues.

    Please stop before someone gets hurt.

    1. Do you really think 36 people are making up these same stories and if you have something to say at least have the guts to put a name to it. Funny how you work there and don’t know what’s going on under your nose. You probably do, but choose to ignore it. (edited)

    2. Carol is a one person operator, she cannot afford to get things wrong. If she were so wrong, someone would have sued her into unemployment by now. It is my observation that Carol only publishes a part of what she has found, that part she can prove, the rest awaits that ever elusive evidence. And she puts her name to what ever she has to say in public. You might try it, it is liberating and I might tend to trust what you have to say.

      I understand that some people write to Carol in this column disguising their identity to protect themselves against a real threat of retribution from their employer. This doesn’t seem to be such a case. This then only damages your credibility (as you can see from some of the comments you have attracted) and it achieves nothing.

  2. Hello Anonymous
    Did you enjoy reading the posts I had on What’s on your mind, Warrnambool site. Everything is coming out now and you can’t shut us all down. The information I provide is on public record and there will be some questions being asked from people who can not be fobbed off. (edited)

  3. Lyndoch residents and staff just have to make do, while there seems and endless supply of funds for sponsorship’s of clubs and groups ect ,I would love to see a full list with financials .

    From Racing Australia
    Race 7 – 2:30PM Waterfront by Lyndoch Living Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500 METRES)
    Of $350,000. 1st $192,500, 2nd $63,000, 3rd $31,500, 4th $17,500, 5th $10,500, 6th $7,000, 7th $7,000, 8th $7,000, 9th $7,000, 10th $7,000
    Prize money contribution totalling 2% will be directed to jockey and equine welfare prior to distribution.

    Hello looks like Bloomberg knows about Lyndoch ,Are we going to be listed on the stock exchange? (edited)

    1. Reading Lyndoch’s constitution, it seems there are clauses that virtually mean the board can approve whatever they like by way of payment to anyone, lots of nice words stipulating what can and can’t be done with company funds, and then some ambiguity.

      Lyndoch Constitution
      4. Assets and income of the Company

      (b)Nothing in this Constitution prevents the Company from making a payment approved by the Board .

      And this one
      3. Objects and powers of the Company

      (b)The Company has all the powers of a company set out in the Corporations Act. The Company may use its powers to do:

      (i)anything which it considers will advance or achieve the Objects; and

      (ii)all other things that are necessary, incidental or conducive to carrying out the Objects, including holding shares in other companies and granting a lease in respect of any part of the Company’s real property holdings.

  4. I’ll be applying to become a member of Lyndoch, I’ll post here on the acceptance or refusal of my application. I suggest we all do this and then we can get a very public idea of how things sit regarding membership of this exclusive little club.

    1. Excellent Dee. That is a great idea about reporting back. It is worth noting that members also have the right to call a general meeting, provided the call is supported by at least 10 members or 5% of the total membership (whichever is less).

    2. I was wondering how we can keep a record of membership nomination form applications and the outcomes
      Seems like you have found a solution, perhaps Carol you might be able to devise a membership database???

  5. My wife is a victim of Lyndoch’s toxic culture, stress and anxiety. We need justice for all the hard workers who won’t take short cuts and turn a blind eye. (Edited)

  6. Anon says – someone will get hurt! What a joke – nurses are worked to a frazzle and some consumers are allegedly not receiving the full care they require – these are the people hurting!

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