Dorothy Cheater (nee Riddle) grew up on her parent’s Dunrobin Road, Hove property, to be known later as Alwyndor. She was the youngest child and only daughter of Henry Percival and Agnes Riddle. The Riddle's produced wooden framed windmills at their blacksmith business near the Brighton Town Hall.
The family home was built in 1901 and was first named Alandale when the Riddle’s oldest son Alfred Alan died at the age of 5 in 1907, the same year that Dorothy was born.
The second son, Wynne St Clare, died from an accidental gunshot wound in the grounds of the house in 1928 after which his parents renamed the property Alwyndor, taking the first part of each child’s name – Alan, Wynne and Dorothy.
During this period the extensive grounds contained a working dairy, vineyards and a substantial orchard. The property was closely linked to the social fabric of the immediate district, being the venue for numerous weddings and other celebrations, community picnics and fêtes.
The family was staunchly Methodist and Henry and Agnes worked ardently for the Brighton Methodist Church. Henry was also secretary, treasurer and librarian at the Brighton Institute for 34 years.
Dorothy cared for her parents at Alwyndor until their deaths in 1942 and then converted Alwyndor into a convalescent and rest home for returning World War II servicemen and the aged. While she was licensed to care for nine people, she often cared for more as she found it difficult to turn away people in need. She employed a trained sister but did most of the work herself – often putting in 20 hours at a stretch and never taking a holiday.
Dorothy married widower Stephen Cheater who created a beautiful garden for her at Alwyndor. It was during this period that the original family home became known as Cheater House, which is still used today as the community service for the Alwyndor facility.
In 1976 the then Brighton Council bought four acres of the total land holding to build a hostel, nursing home and rehabilitation centre, and Dorothy later donated the remaining 2.5 acres of gardens adjacent to the aged care facility. When Alwyndor officially opened, private patients from Ringwood House Brighton were moved to Alwyndor and Ringwood House was subsequently sold to Brighton Council to become the area's first community centre.
Alwyndor transferred to the ownership of the City of Holdfast Bay as a result of the amalgamation of the Brighton and Glenelg Councils in 1997.
Dorothy passed away at Alwyndor in 1988 after being widowed for some years, but not before her vision had taken wings. Alwyndor was already becoming a byword for excellence in aged care and fast forwarding to today, it continues to grow.
It remains one of South Australia’s few remaining local government-owned aged care facilities. The operation of the facility is fundamentally underpinned by the terms of what is known as the Dorothy Cheater Trust, which binds the council (or others) to the ongoing provision of aged care accommodation and services in perpetuity on the parcel of land. It is proudly regarded by the council as an important part of what local government can do for its community.
The facility now provides some 134 residential beds, across all levels of care, dementia and respite care, together with rehabilitation programs, transitional care and community care packages that operate on an outreach basis within the local community.