The founding of the Australian Finnish Rest Home Association Inc (AFRHA) and Finncare is a milestone chapter in the history of Finnish immigration to Australia


History of Finns in Australia


The first Finn is said to have visited Australia on Captain Cook’s first voyage in 1770. Since that early beginning, Finns immigrated to Australia mostly individually and in small numbers, until the upheaval wrought by World War II led to a surge in the number of Finns emigrating for work and the hope of a new life.

Finns arrived in their thousands in Australia from the late 40’s and through the 1950’s and 1960’s, at a time when Australia was growing and developing rapidly. The Finns pitched in with their expertise in construction and engineering, and many also worked in manufacturing, forestry, and mining and in sugar cane fields of far North Queensland.

By the late 60’s, the post-war immigrant Finns had well and truly settled into their new homeland, raised their families, put down new roots, and done a long day’s work in their trades and professions. It was at this time that the thoughts of many turned to a life after work and the prospect of retirement.


History of Finncare


The germ of an idea for a Finnish retirement village was first publicly aired in 1971, in Mt. Isa, at the annual general meeting of the Australasian Federation of Finnish Societies and Clubs (Australasian Suomalaisten Liitto, ASL). The idea was raised more formally at the 1972 AGM in Canberra, and from this meeting a committee was formed to investigate the need and feasibility for building a Finnish rest home. This committee became the Australian Finnish Rest Home Association Inc., which was registered in 1975.

Within a few years, representatives from the three large groupings of Finns – the ASL, the Finnish Lutheran Church, and the Finnish Pentecostal Church – joined forces and the work of fundraising and location- hunting began in earnest. Fundraising support groups were formed, grants applications were sent, and Finnish government agencies were petitioned. Fete stalls, raffles, BBQs, and dinner dances were held while the volunteer members of the AFRHA board worked tirelessly to learn the legal ins and outs of establishing a modern, efficient, and accredited aged care facility.

At long last, through the extreme form of Finnish determination known as “sisu,” and after many twists and turns and ups and downs, the first stage of Finlandia Village was opened in 1986, fifteen years after the idea was first raised.


Finncare – an award-winning aged care provider today


Today, AFRHA has become Finncare Incorporated and is an award-winning and fully accredited provider of all forms of aged care. We have Finncare Villas that provide retired Finns with many of the cultural comforts of home while actively engaging with the wider community in the Redlands and South East Queensland. We provide service to the community through a dedicated team of home support staff. Finncare aged care provide residential aged care for those Finns that need much higher levels of care.


Read more about the Finnish Australian community or see our News & Events section for what’s happening at Finncare and in the greater Finnish Australian community.