The Northern Territory Spastics Association (formerly the Darwin and Districts Spastics Paralysis Association) was established in 1973 to foster “public interest in and to provide facilities and services for the discovery, treatment, care, education, vocational training, employment, recreation and advancement” of people with a disability.
The Association approached the NT Government in 1974 to lease a suitable area of land for the Association to build a centre for children with disabilities in Darwin and beyond. The building process began in 1977 on Henbury Avenue, Tiwi and the Harry Giese Centre opened later that year. The centre, named after the Director of Welfare in the Northern Territory Government from 1954-1970 and the NT Spastics Association President, included assessment and treatment services and a cottage for respite care. The centre’s therapy program commenced in 1978.
Two cottages to provide child care and accommodation for families from regional and remote Northern Territory were constructed in 1980. An adventure playground was added in 1981, a swimming pool in 1983 and an administration block and demountable in 1984.
By 1985, the centre was providing services to one third of the young children with disabilities living in the Top End. It was also providing respite services for children aged 2 – 18 years. Albert Anthony House provided a 24 hour residential respite service for 11 people. The Kath Friend House provided day respite services for six people. The Barrie Marcus Cottage provided accommodation for families from outside Darwin.
The centre also ran a clinic in Katherine and visited some remote communities.
In 1993, Life Member of the Association, Mr Harry Giese, was appointed Patron of the Association.
The Harry Giese Centre was renamed Carpentaria Disability Services in 1996 and continued to provide specialised Early Intervention, Respite, Service Coordination and Adult Services.
In 2017, the organisation rebranded to be known as Carpentaria and continues to deliver innovative and flexible services to empower people to thrive and live a great life, through Allied Health Therapy Services for children, adolescents and adults, Supported Independent Living, Adult Day Program and Short Term Accommodation programs.