Vivienne Harkness OAM
President and Former Carer, BSSG

You are viewing our new website possibly because you are a stroke survivor, a carer, a family member, a friend of a stroke survivor, or someone looking to volunteer in your local community.

My name is Vivienne Harkness and I am very honoured and privileged to be the President of the Boroondara Stroke Support Group Incorporated (BSSG).

My association with this invaluable organisation started in 2011, when my late husband, Peter, had a severe stroke which left him with aphasia and intellectual difficulties and a vocabulary limited to a very few words.

I cared for him for over 5 years before he sadly passed away on Thursday Island, having suffered his final stroke, while we were cruising in north Australian waters.

Following Peter’s initial stroke, I was desperate to find support, understanding and friendship.

We had suddenly been thrown into a strange and frightening world of confusion, loneliness and despair.

We both needed help to cope with our journey living with stroke.

After 4 months, when Peter was finally discharged from hospital, the caring social worker at St Vincent’s Bolte Wing suggested that I contact the City of Boroondara, who referred me to the BSSG.

There, Peter and I found all the things we needed: invaluable friendships, fun stimulating activities, concern, care and a wonderful amount of humour shared with others who had a similar experience.

The members of BSSG became our second family.  We could so readily and easily relate to them.  I sincerely believe we would have found life very difficult to cope, without the support of our newfound friends.

So I encourage anyone who is in need of the support that our wonderful group can provide, to contact us.  We will warmly welcome you and reassure you that

“You Are Not Alone”.

Simply call us on 8529 5307 or send an email to

Our Hub is staffed Mondays to Thursdays (10am to 3pm).  We are closed on public holidays.   

I close this message by sending you my best wishes and a warm welcome to our new website.  This website has been enthusiastically, professionally and generously created for us by the IT students at Swinburne University. 

On behalf of all BSSG members, we offer these students, and Swinburne University, our heartfelt thanks and very best wishes for a fulfilling future.

Vivienne Harkness OAM

President and Former Carer

Boroondara Stroke Support Group Inc.