A new retirement village in Melbourne’s north-west has been named after a famous Australian female sprinter, who won seven Commonwealth Games gold medals.

Ryman Healthcare says its new Aberfeldie site will now be known as the Raelene Boyle retirement village.

The village, which is expected to welcome its first residents later this year, will include 64 independent and 27 assisted living apartments and a 74-bed aged care centre.

Artist's impression of Ryman's new Aberfeldie village

The naming is a homecoming of sorts for the Queensland-based Boyle, who grew up in nearby Coburg and has fond memories of running every Saturday at Aberfeldie Park just metres from the village.

Ms Boyle went on to become an international running sensation, winning three Olympic silver medals, seven Commonwealth Games gold medals, and was first female Olympian to be chosen as Australia’s flagbearer.

More than 120 people attended a virtual unveiling of the Aberfeldie village’s name on Friday, 17 September.

Boyle beamed into the ceremony from a Queensland studio, where she said she was honoured to be recognised in this way.

Ryman Healthcare’s Sales and Community Relations Manager Debra Richardson said the company has been naming its villages after outstanding people for more than 30 years.

Ryman’s other operational villages in Victoria are Nellie Melba, Weary Dunlop, John Flynn, Charles Brownlow and Deborah Cheetham.

“First and foremost, this tradition is about honouring the contribution of that person and doing what we can to help preserve their legacy,” Debra said.

“But it’s also about creating a unique identity for that village. 

“The village community becomes coloured by their character and imbued with the values that set that person apart. 

“We’re not just slapping a name on the front gate – we’re committing to create something which stands as a living, breathing homage to that person’s life and legacy.”

The CEO of the Australian Olympic Committee Matt Carroll praised the choice of Raelene Boyle for the village’s name, describing her as “one of Australia’s greatest ever Olympians”.

“As such it is so wonderful to see Ryman recognise her and her wonderful life as a trailblazer in women’s sport and an inspiring Australian.”

Ryman partnered with the Australian Olympic Committee earlier this year to create the inaugural [email protected], which saw residents at the company’s villages in Australia and New Zealand compete across a range of specially-designed events.  

The new Raelene Boyle retirement village will have a gym, a bowling green, a hair and beauty salon, a cinema, a bar, a cafe and an indoor swimming pool, among other amenities. It will be home to around 180 people when complete.

Find out more about the Ryman Aberfeldie village here