L’Arche was founded in France in 1964 by Jean Vanier and two men with an intellectual disability, Raphael Simi and Philippe Seux. Together they named their home “L’Arche” (meaning the Ark) as a place of belonging and new beginnings.
Today L’Arche is a world-wide federation of 149 communities in 38 countries.
L’Archein Australia began near Canberra in 1978. Our Community L’Arche Genesaret was the first community in Australia. Today there are L’Arche communities in Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Brisbane and Melbourne, with groups forming in Newcastle, Perth, Adelaide and Bendigo.
L’Arche Genesaret had its beginnings in the early 1970s and in April 1978 welcomed its first member at a former convent at Bungendore, a village 20 kilometres east of Canberra. To offer better work and recreation opportunities, the Community relocated to Yarralumla, in Canberra, in 1980.
Each Australian L’Arche community is made up of a number of households and/or independent flats.
The people with disability and a support team made up of Assistants live and work alongside each other.
Our aim is to create communities where people with and without an intellectual disability live relationships
of mutuality and trust. Live-in Assistants are volunteers who choose to live alongside people with an
intellectual disability; they receive an allowance and are expected to contribute fully to the life of the Community.
Surrounding the community is a network of friends, community members and a Board of Directors,
with financial support coming from government, those who live within the houses, and from fund-raising.