The Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre (WRAD) is being renamed to honour a major benefactor and to reflect its growing range of medical services.


The centre at 172 Merri Street in Warrnambool is being re-launched on Wednesday, September 24 as the Handbury Medical Suites, named in honour of Dr Geoff Handbury, AO, WRAD’s most charitable benefactor and one of Western Victoria’s most generous philanthropists.


  • Geoff Handbury AO PhD (h.c) has donated $700,000 to WRAD over the past seven years.



Director Geoff Soma said it was fitting that the centre recognised the tremendous support of Mr Handbury. “The support of Geoff Handbury has been greatly appreciated and has been instrumental in helping WRAD to develop its medical services,” he said.


The renaming also reflects the development of general practice services from the centre. The Handbury Medical Suites are also home to psychology and drug and alcohol intake and assessment services.


Mr Soma said the new name was a positive move in the development of the organisation which started 30 years ago as a drug and alcohol support service.


“We will be known as the Handbury Medical Suites incorporating WRAD services, psychology services and Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO) services,” Mr Soma said.


“WRAD no longer correctly describes what happens at the centre,” he said. “Our services have developed with the support of South West Healthcare and the Deakin School of Medicine who have helped us to provide accessible medical care for those in need.”


The centre will soon have four GPs providing bulk billing services for the general community.


“Over the past seven years medical services have become a permanent and important part of our centre’s operations,” Mr Soma said.


“Many people don’t realise we provide GP services and the new name will be more descriptive of what we do.”


Mr Soma said WRAD remained a distinct entity and would continue to provide counselling, care, recovery and coordination services.


“The WRAD services are still available but the new name reflects our more holistic approach to providing care for the people of Warrnambool and the region,” he said.


The Geoff and Helen Handbury Foundation has left its positive stamp on countless other community organisations and worthwhile causes across the region. These include funding for a wing of Western District Health Service hospital in Hamilton, seed funding for the National Centre for Farmer Health, and numerous sport and art donations to the community.


Mrs Handbury died in 2004. In 1999 both Geoff and Helen received Order of Australia medals for services to regional communities.