TDHS Board Chair Frank Carlus July 2021 web

New TDHS Board Chair feels right at home

Frank Carlus and his wife Barb Mullen have planned to live in Peterborough full-time for many years, but it took a pandemic to make it happen.

Mr Carlus is the new Board Chair of Timboon and District Healthcare Service (TDHS) and has been a part-time resident of Peterborough for 35 years.

He said the couple built a new house there five years ago in readiness for their retirement and COVID-19 had expedited that adventure.

“We’ve shared our time between Port Melbourne, for work, and Peterborough for decades and our time down here has been growing steadily,” he said.

“For about the last 10 years, we’ve spent Christmas through to Easter in Peterborough, but as everyone knows the COVID-19 pandemic came to a head in March last year and we were here, so we just never went back to Melbourne.

“We say to people that we had planned to live here for a long time but it took a pandemic to make it happen. But we’ve actually felt like locals for a long time now.”

Mr Carlus said he was excited to step up into the role of Board Chair, after two years serving as a member on the board.

“I’d like to pay appropriate homage to our outgoing chair Maryanne (Puli Vogels) who is leaving the organisation in very good shape. She made a very big contribution and I’m looking forward to building on that,” he said.

“Continuing to engage with the community is our biggest task. We need to understand what our community needs, be clear on what can be provided locally and how we can support access to other services as close to home as possible.

“I’m really interested and experienced in making health services accessible to people. You can have wonderful services, but if people can’t access them you’re not going to make much of a difference.”

Mr Carlus has spent more than 30 years working within the State Government’s health department across a range of roles including child protection, adoption services, disability services, aged care and mental health.

His tenure spanned seven premiers including Lindsay Thompson, John Cain, Joan Kirner, Jeff Kennett, Steve Bracks, John Brumby and Ted Baillieu.

“My sense of what I have to offer TDHS as Board Chair is that I’m pretty rounded. I’m a country person and a city person and I know how to work with government and what government expects,” he said.

“I think this organisation is very very sound and I don’t think we’re vulnerable. Continuing to prove our value to our community though is still the key to any future threat, which is why our work around community engagement is so important.

“We need to keep up with the times and be very much in tune with what our community needs and wants. We’re not an island though, so we need to work closely with other health services in the region – I see them as our business partners.”

Mr Carlus said with the current strategic plan finishing in 2023, he was looking forward to engaging with the community to begin a new one in the next 12 months.

“We also need to consolidate on some of our new services, like social work and exercise physiology, that are relatively new. We also need to develop strategies around our recruitment.

“The reality is people in healthcare often have a lot of options, so we need to be attractive, so people see Timboon as a real positive in terms of their careers. We have to sell the lifestyle, the environment and the community aspect of living here.”

Mr Carlus said any member of the community was welcome to contact him to share their thoughts and begin dialogue with him – initially via


Current Board member (l-r) Alison Byrne, Anne Skordis, Anthony DeJong, Claire Murphy, Frank Carlus, Chris Stewart, Toinette Hutchins, Ashley Nesseler and Bryce Morden. 

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