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Lorraine Wood

Co-Founder of Sydney’s Leading Treatment Centre to Leave Lasting Legacy

South Pacific Private is sad to announce the passing of Lorraine Wood, the co-founder of Australia’s leading Treatment Centre. She died after a long battle with cancer, throughout which she showed her usual grace, resilience and determination.

First opened by Lorraine and her late husband Bill Wood in 1993, South Pacific Private on Sydney’s Northern Beaches is one of a small handful of facilities globally which uses the trauma-informed framework developed by Pia Mellody at The Meadows Treatment Centre, Arizona – where people such as Michael Phelps, Kate Moss and Tiger Woods have looked for help.

The now three-decade relationship with The Meadows began when Lorraine, Bill, then various other family members sought treatment in Arizona. Inspired by the program, Bill and Lorraine opened South Pacific Private with the aim of sharing its benefits with all Australians. Since then, it has positively changed the lives of more than 80,000 people – an extraordinary and highly personal legacy.

While Bill sadly passed away in 2000, Lorraine continued until recently to run the business with her unwavering passion for saving lives and healing families – taking the hospital through expansion from 26 beds to 54 and continually developing the program to incorporate world-leading, evidence-based modalities for the treatment of addiction and mental health conditions.

Having grown up in an alcoholic family herself, Lorraine’s greatest wish was to heal generational trauma. “Looking back, I can see how many of my life decisions were shaped by my childhood and being raised by alcoholics,” she said in one of her last interviews. “There were times when I was convinced I didn’t deserve happiness and as a result I battled depression for a large part of my life. But, luckily for me, my life changed when Bill and I reached out for help. Part of our healing was establishing South Pacific Private, so that we could help others to recover from addiction and mental illness.”

Lorraine Wood spent her life “daring greatly” long before Brené Brown popularised the concept. Lorraine will be remembered for her energy, strength, tenacity and, above all, humanity. As an entrepreneur and trail-blazer in a challenging environment for women, Lorraine displayed courage and fortitude. As a health care provider, her compassion for clients, predicated by her own upbringing ultimately set the tone for her life’s work. “I love addicts and alcoholics, they are often the loveliest, most sensitive and intelligent people I know”.

Lorraine’s determination to set a new path for as many people as possible, to use the world’s best practice treatments and to focus on positive outcomes for sustainable Recovery will continue to underpin the hospital’s strategic direction into the future.

Lorraine has a very solid succession plan in place that clearly provides for the family business to remain a family business under the guidance of her daughters and existing directors, Frances Hansen and Fleur Wood.

“South Pacific Private plans to continue Lorraine’s legacy, running as it always has, with the same spirit and compassion,” shares daughter Frances. “Mum [Lorraine] is forever grateful that we will remain a beacon of hope for all people and their families who are suffering from addictions and mental illness.”