Jenner, Bernard Maurice OAM

  • Bernie Jenner

    7th of March 1950, Melbourne

    Academic qualifications

    MB,BS (1973), Monash, FRACP (1980), Diploma Child Psychiatry 1979
    Grad. Diploma in Social Science in Family Therapy, Swinburne 

    Positions held at The Royal Children's Hospital

    1975 -1978 Resident; Registrar

    Positions held outside the RCH

    Bernie started as a clinical assistant at Geelong Hospital in 1980. At the same time he commenced as Lecturer in Paediatrics for Monash Medical School. He became involved with the Spastics Society of Victoria, the Children’s Welfare Association and the Child Protection Society.

    During the eighties he rose in the Geelong Paediatric hierarchy becoming senior consultant by the end of the decade. He became an examiner for the College of Paediatrics at Monash and a Lecturer in Paediatrics for Melbourne University and had appointments with Swinburne University and with The University of Ballarat. 

    He remains Chairman of Barwon Paediatric Services since the mid nineties. In 2002 he became the director of the Geelong Family Therapy Centre and Divisional Medical Director, Children’s Services, The Geelong Hospital. More recently he was appointed Senior Lecturer in Paediatrics at Deakin University.

    Clinical interests and research

    Bernie’s major interests have involved child psychiatry, ADHD and neuro-developmental & movement disorders. He has also had ongoing interest in management of asthma, constipation and incontinence.

    A major contribution has been in the establishment and governance of child support services.

    Career & Community highlights and achievements

    Helping families is his passion, with retirement only a distant rumour. His personal experience with PTSD, disability, family tragedy, learning difficulties, and pervasive disorder has driven a missionary healing zeal. He believes that the strength and success of a society is ultimately judged by the way the most vulnerable are cared for. Whether they have medical or psychological issues, suffered the tragedy of the death of a loved one or are adjusting to life with a disabled child, they deserve support, understanding and should never feel alone. 

    He led the development of a cohesive Department of Paediatrics of Excellence at Geelong Hospital, Barwon Health. He remains Chairman of Barwon Paediatric Services, which incorporate all the region’s Paediatricians overseeing child service provision and advocacy.

    Through his professional networks, contacts, systems-theory-thinking and recruiting numerous generous community minded people, he has been able to help make things happen within the Barwon area and surrounding community. Dr Jenner has been honoured to lead the development of two award-winning Charities and remains inaugural President of both. Firstly he created the NGO NFP Gateways Support Services in 1982 to provide support for children with disabilities and their families, by providing a “one-stop shop” for advice, early intervention, case management, respite, accommodation, sport and recreation, which has since grown into a lead support agency within the Barwon Region, surviving NDIS and now expanded to Western Districts and Western Melbourne. Secondly he created Hope Bereavement Care, which is an NGO NFP organisation free service, which supports anyone affected by the sudden death of a child or baby. The service started in 1985, with its model of bereavement support vision of expanding Nationally. 

    Honours and awards 

    1995 Advance Australia Foundation Award for outstanding achievement in the field of community service for the Interchange Program

    2003 Paul Harris Fellow award, Rotary International

    2007 Australian of the Year Local Hero for Regional Victoria

    2019 He was awarded OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia, in the General Division) for service to the community of the Barwon Region, in the Australia Day Honours.

    Current activities

    He had the privileged upbringing of the post war Australia, in a warm caring family environment that had been ravaged the generation before, where his Jewish German father, an orphan and refugee survived a concentration camp during the holocaust, to be sent to Australia ‘the lucky country’.

    He appreciates the privilege of life and loves every day working 4 days per week, with other times in the garden, making barista style coffee, travelling, treadmill exercises while watching the actions of the politicians of the day.

    He has four children, two grandchildren, a very happy home life where he and his wife Hilary billet young AFL footballers who are drafted to the Geelong Cats football club (he accepts all the credit for the clubs success!).