Our Story

Our Commitment

At Active Rehabilitation Physiotherapy we have made a serious commitment to excellence in physiotherapy.

We have an ‘Active Approach’ to patient management that sets us apart and enhances positive outcomes for our patients. This approach incorporates tailored, progressive exercise programs, designed to help each individual achieve their sporting, work and life physical performance goals. To promote this, our practices incorporate well equipped gymnasiums in our treatment areas – making us different to many physiotherapy practices.

  • Our clients perform Active exercise for rehabilitation, ongoing self-management and prevention
  • Our clients are fully informed and Actively involved in their treatment
  • We provide only an appropriate number of treatments
  • We facilitate Active patient education
  • We are customer focused and outcome orientated
  • We Actively in-service our team members to ensure best practise
  • We have a proven track record. Our practice was established in 1986 and continues to grow due to our Active approach

From Humble Beginnings

John Fitzgerald commenced his physiotherapy career in 1983 at the Mater Public Hospital, South Brisbane. After gaining several years of experience in adults and children’s medical, surgical and orthopaedic management, he established a small solo practice in 1986 on Wickham Terrace, Brisbane. He was passionate about the philosophy of creating an active approach to physiotherapy. This was very different to the traditional and passive physiotherapy management models observed at the time. John’s philosophy resulted in early success and an outstanding reputation as a clinician and practice owner.

John’s success and dedication to the profession continued. He helped establish Brisbane’s first multi-disciplinary rehabilitation centres within the Australian Sports Medicine Clinic and Brisbane Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Clinic in 1989. During the same time, he also developed physiotherapy based Back Clinic Programs in some of Brisbane’s elite private hospitals.

An expert and enthusiastic team continued to gather around him. John established Active Rehabilitation Physiotherapy in the precinct of the Mater Hospital South Brisbane in 1993. Active Rehab settled into its current home within the Mater Medical Centre, South Brisbane in 1998, after the original practice was resumed by the Main Roads Department to make way for Brisbane’s South East Busway.

With John at the helm, the Active Rehabilitation team has grown from strength to strength – with a continued commitment to excellence in physiotherapy. In an effort to share this commitment, in 2008, Active Rehabilitation Physiotherapy developed a partnership with the University of Queensland to offer the first full-time Physiotherapy Clinical Educator position in a private practice. Our Clinical Educators provide clinical placements for final year physiotherapy students from the University of Queensland. We coordinate these clinical placements to occur within our Brisbane practices year-round as well as providing an annual multi-disciplinary immersion in East Timor. Then, to make our services more available to the wider Brisbane community, Active opened a second practice in Annerley in 2011 in conjunction with UQ Health Care, strengthening our relationship with the University of Queensland.

Also in 2011, Mater Health Services announced their commitment to meet the growing health care needs of our community and to bring specialist health care to the people. Due to our long and vibrant partnership with the Mater Private Hospital, Active were proud to be invited to be part of this expansion, to deliver high level, multi-disciplinary health care to a broader community. Our physiotherapy services in the Mater Health Centre Hope Island commenced in early 2012 and in the Mater Health Centre Brookwater in early 2013.

In 2014, the Mater Centre for Neurosciences was established, with a strong commitment to investment in state-of-the-art technology, education and research. From one dedicated location, the Mater Centre for Neurosciences was designed to meet the specific needs of patients and their families for specialist care for stroke, epilepsy, neurosurgery, neurology and spinal surgery. Our Active Rehab team works together with surgeons, physicians, nurses and other allied health professionals to provide the highest level of care for in-hospital and outpatient Mater Centre for Neurosciences patients.

Our partnership with Mater Health Services was further enhanced when we were invited to coordinate allied health services within the Mater Private Hospital Springfield, which opened its doors in late 2014. Mater Private Hospital Springfield is an innovative, unique and contemporary hospital, providing holistic healthcare to the Greater Springfield community.

Our team values our longstanding and deep relationship with leading medical specialists, to identify areas of health care need that are under-served by existing services, identifying areas where physiotherapy can uniquely offer substantial value. Active has extended our services into emerging areas of physiotherapy specialty, building highly skilled teams of physiotherapists in these developing clinical areas and investing in cutting-edge technology. Active has formed collaborations with researchers, including significant partnerships with universities, research organisations and charitable institutions. Some of the emerging clinical areas over the years have included the Mars Clinic for Child and Adolescent Continence, which was unique in its use of clinical diagnostic and treatment technologies. Mars Clinic continues to grow, and offers online consults, and its team of physiotherapists are leaders in Australia in this area. In addition Active’s Mens’ Health services work with Urologists, Colorectal surgeons and other specialists. Active clinicians have established a partnership with prominent researchers at the University of Queensland in Men’s Health, assisting with an NHMRC-funded project, and facilitating a physiotherapist PhD in the area.

Active has also built a strong team of Vestibular physiotherapists after seeing both the high (and growing) prevalence of vertigo, dizziness and balance disorders. This team provides vestibular physiotherapy within Active’s community clinics, as well as working closely with leading ENT Surgeons and Neurosurgeons. There has been significant investment in the latest technology, and in multiple research projects. In 2021, the vestibular research team was awarded a grant from the Cromwell Foundation.

In the context of this growth in volume and complexity of services, in 2016 the Active Leadership Team recognised the need to organise the business, team and services into clinical streams, to provide the appropriate clinical governance for the depth and breadth of physiotherapy that we offer. In addition to our team covering the traditional areas of physiotherapy, we now have strong pillars of strength in several other clinical streams, spanning the continuum of care: Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Child and Adolescent Continence, Vestibular, Orthopaedics, Spinal Neurosurgery, Neurology, Cancer Care and Headaches.

As part of our clinical streams development, the Active leadership team recognised the opportunity for our patients to benefit from our presence, experience and expertise in all healthcare settings from hospitals, within our local community practices, in services embedded within doctor’s clinics and through online video consultations. Leveraging this diversity of services, Active has adopted a unique approach to service delivery, which provides a connected experience for our patients – continuing their physiotherapy care with the same experienced team from preparation or prehab, during hospital admissions, working with their doctors in outpatient clinics, and then guiding rehabilitation at community-based clinics after discharge.

A desire to leave a deep and lasting professional legacy, and to give back to the community, drove John to establish the Active Rehabilitation Research Foundation in 2017. The Foundation supports the existing research activities and partnerships at Active, as well as creating impact through supporting physiotherapy education. The Foundation has a portfolio of research projects, and actively invests in supporting physiotherapy education and sustainable services in Australia and Timor Leste.

Active continues to grow and evolve, but at its heart remains a family-owned business dedicated to professional excellence, community contribution and its unique team culture.