Harry Hunter Rehabilitation Centre
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Harry Hunter Rehabilitation Centre

Harry Hunter Rehab Centre

Harry Hunter Rehabilitation Centre in Western Australia opened in 1961 and each year provides almost 200 people with an opportunity to find freedom from addiction to a wide range of substances.

During their stay, clients complete positive lifestyleclasses, receive counselling, partake in work therapy through gardening and farming, and are regularlyinvolved in social activities.

As clients complete the program, a comprehensiveaftercare service helps them rejoin the communityand reconnect with positive influences.

A four-year redevelopment project in partnership with Dale Alcock Homes finished this year with the creation of a new three-unit women’s wing as well as ensuite bedrooms, common areas, tea rooms and consultation offices to support the recovery process for residents.

For the past 18 months Major Deidre Dearing has been the manager of the centre. “Stories like Martin’s are quite common — we’re seeing more and more serious methamphetamine addictions amongst our clients,” she says.

Major Dearing says while “drug addictions are norespecter of social class”, most people who come to Harry’s are from low socio-economic backgrounds. “It’s common for people to come to us straight from thestreets, some from jail and others from living at homewith their family.”

Martin’s Story

Martin (pictured right) was born in Chile and moved to Australia when he was 13. He struggled to learn English and found it hard to fit in. In year nine, Martin began to smoke marijuana and drink alcohol — it made him feel like he had something in common with others.

A decade later and Martin was $12,000 in debt,stealing from his family to support his ice addiction. Martin worked as a bricklayer, using drugs beforeand during work. “It was a bit like having a coffee.”


Separate to the drug use, Martin developed arthritis, which made it impossible for him to continue working. Eventually he had to tell his family about his problem. “That was probably the hardest thing I had to do — lots of tears, sadness and relief that I was recognising it finally.

“I started looking around my circle of friends and seeing they were all going nowhere, so I thought, ‘If I don’t do anything about it now I’ll end up dead.’”

Martin thought of rehab as a place for ‘scum’ but despite that he found his way to The Salvation Army’s Bridge House and then Harry Hunter Rehabilitation Centre. He says the staff made a massive difference to his recovery — they were “…some of the most beautiful, forgiving and giving people. I was never judged.”

One quote that resonates with Martin was from Salvo worker Major Paul, who said, “Put as much effort into your recovery as you did into your addiction.”

Today Martin is eager to give back to his community and make amends with the people he hurt. He’s enrolled in a community services course, leads his local Narcotics Anonymous group and volunteers one day a week at Harry Hunter helping others in situations similar to his.

“This place literally saved my life. And it gave me a chance at a new life. I’m forever thankful for the people who invested in me.”