Retirement village giant opens “fastest selling” Australian facility in Melbourne

An assisted living unit at the John Flynn Retirement Village.

Ryman Healthcare has opened its eighth Australian facility – also its fastest selling – on part of a former Melbourne brickworks.

A cafe at the Burwood East complex.

The John Flynn Retirement Village, in Burwood East, carries a $277 million end value.

A resident-only indoor pool and spa at Burwood East.

Adopting the group’s continuum of care model, which can follow a resident from independent to supported care in the one community, it includes 174 independent living units, 89 serviced apartments offering semi-support, and a 114-bed aged care complex.

A communal room in the 114-bed aged care home.

The New Zealand listed Christchurch based group acquired the 2.5 hectare block which made way for the complex in 2016.

The seller, Frasers Property Australia, under its Australand incarnation, paid Readings Cinemas $65m for the 20.5ha ex-brickworks two years earlier.

The balance of the land has in recent years made way for hundreds of dwellings and an uber-green Woolworths anchored shopping centre, coincidentally, with a Readings tenancy.

John Flynn Retirement Village

More than 200 guests including Ryman Group chief executive officer, Richard Umbers, federal MP for Chisholm, Dr Carina Garland, state member, Paul Hamer, and City of Whitehorse mayor, Denise Massoud, attended a launch for the Burwood East village last week.

At 6 Foundation Boulevard and 45 Burwood Highway, abutting the enormous RSPCA headquarters, the John Flynn Retirement Village also includes a billiards room, beauty salon, all-weather bowling green, cafe, cinema, craft room, dining room, heated indoor pool attached to a spa, library and workshop.

Displayed memorabilia includes a wooden desk from which Mr Flynn drafted plans for the RFDS, promotional posters and a specifically commissioned rug featuring a De Havilland Dragon aircraft motif.

Ryman Australia CEO Cameron Holland said though the permit was issued in 2019, construction “faced huge challenges outside of our control” during COVID.

At the same time, it also drummed up highest demand.

“It’s Ryman Australia’s fastest selling village,” according to the executive (story continues below).

Ryman bought the portion of the ex-Brickworks (marked) in 2016.

It is also in the running for the ‘Best Retirement Living Development’ award at a Retirement Living Council annual event, and earlier this month, was named a finalist in the ‘Facility of the Year (Ageing in Place)’ category of the Asia-Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards, held in Singapore in May, he added.

The John Flynn Retirement Village includes a beauty salon.

RFDS CEO Scott Chapman, also at the launch, said his organisation and Ryman share the same mission.

“We are about better physical health, we are about better mental health, and like Ryman we are about strong community and social health, and that can only be achieved by building communities that bring people together,” he added.

Ryman makes it eight

Ryman, which turns 40 this year, entered the Australian market a decade ago; it has so far only invested in Victoria.

Its local development pipeline includes six more sites including Mt Eliza’s waterfront Moonah estate, the ex-St Mary’s Seminary in Mulgrave, and blocks in Coburg North, Essendon, Kealba and Ocean Grove.

Including its New Zealand properties, its portfolio is worth some $11.5 billion.

“Ryman is no longer a New Zealand business operating in Australia, but a truly TransTasman organisation that embodies the very best of the Anzac spirit,” Mr Umbers said.

“We have transitioned form being a new entrant and a disrupter to an established, respected player in the Australian sector, with eight operational villages and six more in the development pipeline,” he added.

The John Flynn Retirement Village opening comes nearly two years since Patti Newton opened the Bert Newton Retirement Village in Highett.

The group also recently opened a facility in north west Aberfeldie, named after Olympian Raelene Boyle.

Subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.

Share or Recommend article

Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of