History of WHOS

WHOS was established in 1972 by concerned ex-consumers to help drug dependent individuals of the community find healthier lifestyle options. Since its early pioneering days, WHOS provided self-help and peer support which evolved into a traditional Therapeutic Community (TC) in 1974 after links with similar models in the USA were formed.


WHOS was the first TC for drug and alcohol dependent individuals in Australia. This beginning as a self-help organisation has evolved into a recognised professional organisation, which utilises the therapeutic community (TC) model of care, incorporating harm minimisation and co-existing mental health initiatives.


The organisation has demonstrated the ability to survive the early days of its evolution, the ever-changing trends in the AOD field and to stay abreast of current initiatives.

  • Recent Achievements

    Secured long term lease for our Lilyfiled Campus – 130 beds (former Lilyfiled Hospital) in the Historic Broughton Hall Garden Precinct.

    WHOS Information Management System has been fully implemented after a successful trial period that encompassed staff feedback and review. This project is under continual development and improvement.

    WHOS has been awarded another 4 years of continuing accreditation until 2019 through Australian Council of Healthcare Standards (ACHS).

    WHOS continues to host international study groups. Recent groups were from  Japan (2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015) which visited WHOS exclusively to learn how to incorporate Harm Minimisation into a drug free program. Other groups have come from Macau, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Thailand.

    WHOS engages with a number of external allied health providers e.g. doctors, LHD mental health and infectious disease workers, the psychologist centre (Communicare) which proves to be invaluable.

    WHOS received the ‘Outstanding Contribution Award for contributions to the NGO drug and alcohol sector in NSW’ from our NGO peak organisation Network of Alcohol and Drug Agencies (NADA).

    Staff trained in mental health issues, suicide prevention and intervention and the management of aggressive and difficult behaviours.

    Opening of the only NGO Opioid dosing clinic in Australia funded by NSW Ministry of Health.

    Development of a client pre-employment initiative, being a work ready skills program for clients in the WHOS extended care program.


    An extensive staff training program for WHOS staff by the WHOS IOC (Increasing Organisational Capacity) project funded by Commonwealth Department of Health.

    A successful expansion of our extended care program for Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) clients (6 additional beds) funded by NSW Ministry of Health (DATS Initiative).

    Additional staff funding to assist our Opioid Substitution Treatment clients such as multi-disciplinary OST dosing nurses, OST outreach case worker, family support worker, funded by NSW Ministry of Health (DATS Initiative)

    A new Day Program for OST clients in Newcastle funded by NSW Ministry of Health (DATS Initiative).


  •  Key Milestones for WHOS:

    Prime Minister Hon John Howard MP officially opened WHOS MTAR (renamed OSTAR) while launching the National Diversion Initiative (1999).

    Prime Minister Hon John Howard MP announced the funding for the establishment of WHOS Sunshine Coast, Queensland, April 2004.

    Prime Minister Hon John Howard MP officially announced the opening of WHOS Sunshine Coast in a special ceremony in Brisbane (2005).


    WHOS purchased the WHOS Najara property in 2006 as a result of resources made available by the Queensland Government.

    NSW Special Minister of State Hon John Della Bosca MP, Commonwealth Health & Aged Care State Manager and ANCD Chairperson officially opened WHOS Hunter Valley (2002). Special recognition was given for our then President, the late Ken Trevallion OAM by naming the building Ken Trevallion House.

    Visit and announcement of WHOS’ success in being granted MERIT (magistrate early referral into treatment) bed funding by NSW Special Minister of State Hon John Della Bosca MP.

    Former Health Minister and previous board member of WHOS the Hon John Hannaford MP announced funding to establish WHOS New Beginnings Women’s Service.

    Announcement of funding for the new WHOS MTAR service for women by Hon John Della Bosca. Feb 2005.

    Health Minister Hon Kevin Humphries visited WHOS (2014)

    Achieving WHOS’ vision of consolidation of WHOS Sydney services to the former Rozelle Hospital site.

    WHOS Executive Director served on the ANCD (Australian National Council on Drugs) and under four Prime Ministers being Hon John Howard MP, Hon Kevin Rudd MP, Hon Julia Gillard MP and Hon Tony Abbott MP and was entered onto the AOD National Honour Role (2007) at National Awards and received the Prime Ministers Award (2010) from Hon Julia Gillard MP.

    WHOS Executive Director elected as President of the IFNGO (International Federation of NGOs) lifting profile of WHOS internationally (2011-2013).



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