Army carpenter Max builds his legacy from Sydney to Singapore
A career as an army tradesman sent Max Rostron across the world, from contributing to military base builds and humanitarian support in Singapore and Vietnam to helping construct Australia’s iconic Sydney Opera House.
Max, now 85, lives at Bolton Clarke’s Carrington retirement village in Parkinson with his wife Patricia and enjoys the relaxed lifestyle the village affords them.
Born at Punchbowl, Sydney in 1934, he grew up in Bankstown and Tea Gardens.
The small coastal village had no secondary school, so after completing his early schooling Max took a job as an apprentice baker.
“That lasted until I dropped a tray of the owner’s prized jelly slice! It went all over the shop floor. For some reason or other they sacked me!” he said.
“There was nothing else for me in town after that.”
He joined the Army at 15 after his mother saw an advertisement in the paper for apprentices. “All of the tradesmen were getting out of the military. To encourage new tradesmen, they started offering their own training programs,” said Max.
“My mother put me into a three-year program and besides being a soldier, I learnt a trade. It was done under the guidance of the Victorian education system so when I came out, I was a qualified carpenter.”
In 1952, Max took his first post to Brisbane and shortly after, spent nine months in Vanimo, New Guinea. There he helped build an army camp to support a company of Pacific Island Regiment soldiers during the West Irian Dispute.
His next post saw him move back to Sydney to train as a Building Foreman at Ultimo Technical College.
“I did so well on that, they posted me as a supervisor to the Sydney Opera House. It was very interesting because a lot of the techniques we used were only new at the time. The way it was built involved a lot of stress cables.”
He spent two years working on the Opera House, and then was posted first to Wagga Wagga working as a maintenance carpenter and then as a building inspector in Adelaide.
“It was my job to make sure that the work being done was up to code and up to standard.”
“Even though my qualification was carpentry, as you go along you pick these things up. You learn enough on the job to tell if the plumbers, plasterers or brickies are doing the work correctly.”
Supervisory work followed in the Darwin barracks, and in Singapore.
“Other than New Guinea I’d not lived overseas. It was a very different culture, especially once you went out of the city confines. Inside the city you could have called it ‘Little England’ because Singapore had been under English influence for some time.”
During the Vietnam War Max continued his supervisory roles supporting civil works for the Vietnamese people. The project was called ‘winning the hearts and minds of the people’ and focused on improving life for locals. He built hospitals, drilled water bores and supported the army’s humanitarian efforts.
Returning to Australia, he retired from the army at 40 and moved to Tweed Heads NSW with his wife and two sons, Steven and Mark.
After his divorce he took work at the Builders Registration Board, now the Queensland Building and Construction Commission. His now wife Patricia was the accounts clerk there. Max says it wasn’t quite love at first sight.
“It all started as a bit of a joke! Every year you had to renew your registration as a builder. One day, I walked past her desk with my paperwork and jokingly said, ‘pay that for me and I’ll take you out to dinner.’”
“The next thing I knew, it was sitting on my in-tray with a note saying, ‘this has been paid - all I need now is a time and a date.’”
“We went out then, we liked each other, and we’ve been together ever since,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had an argument.”
Max and Patricia married in 1985 and have been together more than 34 years. Between them they have 8 children, 15 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Max has difficulty with his short-term memory and says being part of the Carrington community has made life easy.
“The boss likes it,” he says before adding, “it’s very good, it’s a nice quiet neighborhood. I like it here.”
Other news from our retirement villages...
22 May 2022
A place to settle down at Carrington
Helen competed in the 1960 and 1964 Olympics representing Australia in long jump, high jump and pentathlon. Her Mum, the famous Ruth Frith, holds the title as the oldest active athlete, competing in the Australian Masters Games until she was 100.
15 May 2022
Lynelle is the Angel of Baycrest
After flooding devastated their cattle property north of Bundaberg in 2013, Lynelle and her husband Noel were looking for a safe place to settle down.
04 May 2022
Lights, Camera, Cazna Gardens
Cazna Gardens Retirement Village resident Bob is no stranger to the limelight – as well as working for the Air Force and as a nurse he has worked for a band and in the movie industry.
03 May 2022
Children are the secret to longevity for Ellen, 105
Mother’s Day is always a cause for celebration for 105-year-old Bolton Point local Ellen Power. Known as her family’s ‘blessed matriarch’ – with nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren -Ellen says family is the most important thing to her, as it should be to everybody.
01 May 2022
Sun, sand and long walks on the beach!
Trading in the suburbs for the sea means retirement has never looked so good for Rowes Bay Retirement Village resident Mel.
22 April 2022
Honouring the service of our Veterans
Anzac Day is widely known as a national day of remembrance for those who have served our country. At Bolton Clarke, we have a rich history steeped in honouring the service of our Veterans. We have the privilege to know many who now call one of our community’s home.
17 April 2022
Friends are the family you choose at Inverpine
While it was family that first brought Elaine to the Inverpine Retirement Village at Murrumba Downs, it is the friends she has made that have made it home.
10 April 2022
Village atmosphere brings John and Linda home
John and his wife Linda moved into Bolton Clarke’s Moreton Shores Retirement Village almost seven years ago. When they did, they were pleased to find the proper village atmosphere they were both used to.
03 April 2022
Carmen and Zorro give back to Fernhill
Looking for a place with a small town feel and a bustling main street, as well as somewhere with access to transport and health facilities, Carmen and her husband Peter found everything they needed at the Fernhill Retirement Village.
29 March 2022
There’s something in the air at Breezes
When Sharon and her husband Charlie decided to sell their family house and move to Bolton Clarke Breezes retirement village, they did not expect to feel at home so quickly.
27 March 2022
An unexpected connection welcomes Janise home
When Janise moved to the Bolton Clarke Bongaree retirement village, she didn’t immediately recognise the connection that had brought her to her new home.
20 March 2022
Walking works wonders at Tantula Rise
Exploring is in Eric’s blood. So when he moved into Bolton Clarke’s Tantula Rise retirement village almost two years ago, one of the first things he did was strap on his walking shoes and set out to see the local community.
16 March 2022
Cyndy’s unexpected feline lifeline
When Cyndy moved into Bolton Clarke’s Westhaven Retirement Village in Toowoomba she found an unexpected new friend.
07 March 2022
History Of Pioneering Queensland Nurse Unearthed
A photograph album belonging to New Farm WWI nurse and Queensland’s first female dentist Sister Martha Burns has been found among archival records at Bolton Clarke’s Fernhill residential aged care community at Caboolture.
11 February 2022
Community a lifetime connection for local Centenarian
Community is key for Townsville local Minna Ede, who this week celebrated her 100th birthday at Bolton Clarke Rowes Bay. The Centenarian has lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression and now a pandemic. Despite the adversity, she says the secret to living a long life is to find happiness in the people around you.
01 December 2021
Local Men’s Shed lend a hand
Membership of the Cleveland Uniting Church Men’s Shed is almost rite of passage for many residents living at Bolton Clarke’s Moreton Shores Retirement Village.
29 November 2021
Empowerment, connection underpin volunteer’s work
Jason left the United Kingdom in October 2018, and after travelling through the Middle East and Asia had planned to spend a year in sunny Australia. Luckily for the Bolton Clarke community, he ended up staying a lot longer!
23 November 2021
Love is all you need
Bolton Clarke Chelsea Retirement Village resident Grace Alexander’s story is literally part of the fabric of the Wide Bay community.
10 November 2021
Ex-RAAF Reservists solve 40-year-old plane wreck mystery
Bolton Clarke Rowes Bay Retirement Village resident Bruce has always had a special interest in military aircrafts. As an ex-reservist in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and a Townsville local, he has spent a lifetime researching and studying crash sites in the local area.
08 November 2021
RAAF Veteran exchanges flying high for a seascape
RAAF Veteran Dennis Olsen OAM has an impressive 42-year career in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He has been living at Bolton Clarke Tantula Rise since the retirement community opened 14 years ago.
08 November 2021
Small conversation unearths history of service
Recently, Bolton Clarke’s Fairways retirement community in Bundaberg held a poignant celebration to honour Veterans. In attendance was Greg Johannesen who was presented with a moving tribute to his late Father.
19 September 2021
Residents flourish in Toowoomba’s Grand Central Floral Parade
For residents at Bolton Clarke’s Westhaven community, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers has always been one of the most anticipated celebrations of the year.
10 September 2021
Fairways a family in more ways than one for Marilyn
When family and friends arrive at Bolton Clarke’s Fairways community at Bundaberg, it’s no wonder the face that greets them at the door is familiar. Over the past 20 years Marilyn has become an integral part of the Fairways family.
09 August 2021
Bolton Clarke retirement villages earn full ARVAS accreditation
Bolton Clarke’s 24 retirement villages are among the first in Australia to be awarded Australian Retirement Village Accreditation Scheme (ARVAS) accreditation.
26 September 2021
Teaching takes Sally from fashion to ‘Frise
Former fashion teacher and Bolton Clarke Breezes retirement village resident Sally James has taken on a new student in her retirement - a nine-month-old Bichon Frise puppy, Keisha – and the pair are teaching each other some new tricks.
19 September 2021
Rowes Bay sisters heed adventure’s call
For sisters and Bolton Clarke Rowes Bay retirement village residents Margie Scorse and Lynne Clancy there’s no place like home – but that hasn’t stopped them answering the call of adventure to explore Australia in style.
12 September 2021
Downsizing creates connections for Jan
When Jan Tilley decided to downsize to Bolton Clarke’s Carrington retirement village at Parkinson, she didn’t expect to uncover so many connections to community and creativity.
05 September 2021
Baycrest a perfect fit for family retirement
Finding family retiring under one roof might be unusual, but for Baycrest retirement village residents Liz and Craig Winnington and Liz’s brother Lindsay Clarke, it’s the perfect fit.
29 August 2021
Lynda comes home to Fernhill
When Lynda McKewan moved to Bolton Clarke’s Fernhill retirement village at Caboolture, she didn’t first appreciate what a homecoming it would be.
22 August 2021
At Inverpine, new friends are just around the corner
Jan Dale and Christine Magee are proving that at any age, new friendships can be just around the corner.
15 August 2021
World traveller finds new community at Cazna Gardens
Frank Flynn has lived his life in pursuit of his two passions, travel and languages. Now he’s discovering a passion for staying home in his new community at Bolton Clarke’s Cazna Gardens retirement village.
25 July 2021
Moreton Shores magical music winds back clock
Brian and Kathy Thomas say the move to Bolton Clarke’s Moreton Shores retirement village at Thornlands has helped them wind back the clock.
01 August 2021
From mountain home to garden village, Dorothy shares her love of community
Community has been an important focus of life for Dorothy Sherratt since her years lived in rugged and icy conditions in the Snowy Mountains during the construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme.
08 August 2021
School friends become neighbours at Tantula Rise
When Carmel McLellan and her husband Ken moved into Bolton Clarke’s Tantula Rise retirement village at Alexandra Headlands in May, the last thing Carmel expected was to run into her old school chum
18 July 2021
Downsizing’s the new lease on life for Lynette
When Lynette Phillips moved from Victoria to Bolton Clarke’s Bongaree retirement village on Bribie Island, she wasn’t expecting to be quite so elated with her choice.
15 July 2021
A home for happy ever after
Bob Crothers and Annette Young have a lot they’re thankful for. In the past two years they’ve rekindled their romance after 54 years apart and found their forever home to spend time in together at Bolton Clarke’s Baycrest retirement village in Hervey Bay.
05 July 2021
Rowes Bay says ‘cheers’ to 30 years
Residents living at Bolton Clarke’s Rowes Bay retirement village have gathered to say cheers to 30 years of Rowes Bay with a special luncheon and a market day for the whole community.
09 April 2021
Community garden gets the (green) thumbs up
The community garden at Bolton Clarke’s Tantula Rise retirement village has been transformed over recent months courtesy of village resident and green thumb Neil Jensen.
05 April 2021
Flexibility and friendliness a winning combination
Since moving to Bolton Clarke’s Westhaven retirement village in Toowoomba six months ago, Rex and Desley have taken to their new lifestyle like ducks to water.
31 March 2021
Seniors get active ahead of No Falls Month
Seniors from Bolton Clarke’s Tantula Rise retirement village in Alexandra Headlands have been getting active in a weekly exercise class designed to support balance, agility, and overall fitness.
29 March 2021
Downsizing’s the ‘goldilocks’ move for Robert and Dianne
Downsizing from their family home on a large block was the ‘goldilocks’ move for Robert and Dianne Fraser, who moved to Bolton Clarke’s Inverpine retirement village one year ago.
21 March 2021
New year, new home for Ian and Sandra
What better way to start the new year than with a new home? That’s what Ian and Sandra Heslehurst did when they made the move to downsize from their quarter acre at Sunnybank to Bolton Clarke’s Carrington retirement village in Parkinson in January.
19 March 2021
Judy’s got peace of mind
For Bolton Clarke Cazna Gardens, Sunnybank Hills resident Judy Jones, the decision to move from her Runcorn home to her village unit was made the minute she walked through the door.
15 March 2021
Village life a haven for Ellen
Ellen Campbell knows well the value of having a haven to call home. Growing up in Germany during WWII, it was her mother who shielded her and her siblings and kept them safe. For the past eight years, her home and haven has been Bolton Clarke’s Fernhill retirement village in Caboolture.
08 March 2021
Village life’s the cup of tea for Helen and Pauline
It’s clear that mother and daughter Pauline Pavlich and Helen Howarth share a close bond. But not only are they close at heart, but close to hand too, both living in their own units at Bolton Clarke’s Breezes retirement village in Mackay.
28 February 2021
The best of both worlds for Margaret and John
For Margaret and John Hetherington, moving to Bolton Clarke’s Rowes Bay retirement village has given them a lifestyle with the best of both worlds.
11 February 2021
17 again: love renews this Valentine’s Day
Bob Crothers and Annette Young have plenty of reasons to celebrate this Valentine’s Day. Two years ago, the high school sweethearts reunited after 54 years apart. Last year, they bought a home together at Bolton Clarke’s Baycrest retirement village in Hervey Bay. This year, they plan to get married.
05 February 2021
Free health and wellbeing sessions help Sunshine Coast seniors stay active and independent
Sunshine Coast seniors are getting healthy and active with the commencement of a new wellbeing program at Bolton Clarke’s Tantula Rise retirement village in Alexandra Headlands.
13 January 2021
Compassionate Heather shares marathon memoirs
Bolton Clarke Moreton Shores retirement village’s newest author, Heather Coombes, possesses a remarkable resilience, generous spirit and a compassionate heart. They are qualities that shine through in her 2016 book, Marathon Wheeler - a memoir of her life born with cerebral palsy, finding her purpose and pursuing her passions of writing, librarianship and ministry.
10 January 2021
The right move at the right time
David and Elaine Sollars are grateful to have found their haven when they moved to Bolton Clarke’s Baycrest retirement village in February of last year.
07 January 2021
Moments decision brings marvellous life
For Kathy and Gene Rosenblatt, a whirlwind decision five years ago led to new friendships and the comfort of safety and security in their home at Bolton Clarke’s Fernhill retirement village in Caboolture.
05 January 2021
Home sweet home, sweet home, sweet home
Bribie Island locals David and Pamela Aitchison, Roy Sycamore and Margaret Lambert each live at Bolton Clarke’s Bongaree retirement village – but this is not the first time they’ve shared a home, each having lived in the same house around the corner on Norman Street.
03 January 2021
Water aerobics keeps retirees moving
The ladies of Bolton Clarke’s Westhaven retirement village in Harristown know how to keep fit – and have plenty of fun while doing so. During the warmer months, resident Edith Oxenham leads a group of eight regular attendees in twice-weekly water aerobics.
29 December 2020
Desley’s lifelong blue crush
Desley Williams has lived her life in the water swimming rivers, channels and beaches all over the world. Her life-long blue crush has taken her from her hometown of Mackay to the Gold Coast, Victoria and overseas to England and Italy between 1967 to 1982.
27 December 2020
Retirees beat the heat with water aerobics
With the arrival of summer, residents living at Bolton Clarke’s Tantula Rise retirement village at Alexandra Headlands have found a way to beat the heat – and keep fit at the same time with weekly water aerobics classes.
17 December 2020
Dennis trades trains for toys becoming Santa’s latest elf
The art of hand chiseling wooden toys isn’t very common nowadays, but Bolton Clarke Westhaven, Toowoomba retirement village resident Dennis Law is doing his bit to keep craftsmanship alive this Christmas.
13 October 2020
Wholesome food the spice of life
A love of food and country atmosphere are two things Cynthia Press shares with many of her fellow residents at Bolton Clarke’s Westhaven retirement village.
12 October 2020
Tai chi the key to health and happiness for Bill
While meditation practice and yoga have become trendy among the younger generation, Bill Sanders and the seniors he instructs in tai chi twice weekly are living proof that you don’t need to be a young social media influencer to take up the practice and reap the mindful benefits.
31 December 2020
Water smart smiles for retirement village residents
Residents of Bolton Clarke’s Rowes Bay retirement village in Townsville have been the happy recipients of some water smart products from Townsville City Council. The roll out has been a great success, putting smiles on residents’ faces and encouraging physical activity in the gardens, proving that sometimes the grass is greener on the other side.
18 September 2020
Crafting clay creations brings content for retirement village residents
Residents at Bolton Clarke’s Inverpine retirement village at Murrumba Downs have been keeping busy and taking the lead from their grandchildren to produce some extraordinary clay modelling artworks during the coronavirus pandemic.
30 June 2020
Fresh produce brings Sunset Ridge retirees together
Fresh produce from a bountiful vege patch has been a focus of friendship and community for residents at Bolton Clarke’s Sunset Ridge retirement village at Emu Park. Keen gardeners Geoff and Jenny Marquardt started the project and have now got other residents involved with new gardens underway, produce being shared and a herb patch in the offing.
07 July 2020
Café becomes retirees favourite watering ‘hole in the wall’
The “Hole in the Wall” café at Bolton Clarke’s Broadwater Gardens retirement village in Port Macquarie has become the caffeine-fueled antidote to social distancing challenges for resident retirees.
18 June 2020
All in the family at Moreton Shores
Pam Elder never envisioned that when it came time for her to retire, she would end up living in the same retirement village as her parents. But despite it seeming strange at first, Pam has called Bolton Clarke’s Moreton Shores retirement village in Thornlands her home for the past nine years, living alongside parents Don and Joan Campbell, who made the move three years earlier.
05 June 2020
‘Hello Nan and Pop’ activity pack keeps grandparents and grandkids connected.
At times like this, the importance of keeping in touch with family and loved ones cannot be understated – particularly for older people. With social distancing, border closures and other protective measures preventing face-to-face contact, Bolton Clarke retirement village residents have turned to technology to keep the connections alive.
05 June 2020
Water tower used for parachute practice in 1942 to be painted to honour ANZACS
The community votes are in, and the water tower out front of Bolton Clarke’s Fernhill community on King St, Caboolture - once used for Secret Intelligence Operatives to practice parachute jumping - is to be painted in honour of our ANZACS.
02 June 2020
Mackay’s ‘happiness queen’ celebrates 100th birthday
You’d be forgiven for thinking Almira Argent is too good to be true, such is the level of joy, happiness and positivity she radiates ahead of her 100th birthday on Sunday 31 May. “It’s absolutely wonderful,” she says. “It’s lovely – I’m overexcited.”
27 May 2020
Village residents travel the world through takeaway
With travel restrictions putting a temporary hold on physical travel, residents at Bolton Clarke’s Tantula Rise community at Alexandra Headlands are giving their taste buds a weekly trip exploring world cuisine. Self-confessed nomad Therese Willey usually splits her time between her two homes. The first is Bolton Clarke’s Tantula Rise retirement village at Alexandra Headlands and the second – the open road.
21 May 2020
Retirees grow food and friendships in community garden
If empty shelves at gardening centres throughout South-East Queensland are anything to go by, the current social distancing conditions have created a surge of novice ‘green thumbs.’ But for residents at Bolton Clarke’s Westhaven retirement village at Toowoomba gardening is - and always has been - a way of life.
24 April 2020
ANZAC candles create community connections at Baycrest
For veterans and residents at Bolton Clarke Baycrest retirement village, ANZAC Day is an important time for reflection and community connection. This year, residents will be Lighting Up the Dawn as they ‘stand to’ on their driveways with support from Hervey Bay RSL sub-branch and Paisley Park Childcare Centre staff, who have provided the residents with handmade candles to mark the commemoration.
22 April 2020
Veteran Ralph Edwards shares 101 years of memories
For Bolton Clarke Milford Grange resident Ralph Edwards, ANZAC Day has added significance every year. Born in Roma, in central western Queensland, on 21 April 1919 during the final months of World War I, Ralph served Australia in World War II in the Citizens Military Forces and then the Australian Imperial Force, spending time in Labuan, Borneo working on 40,000-gallon prefabricated steel fuel tanks.
25 January 2020
Residents enjoy Bolton Clarke’s Australia Day ‘big bash’ community cricket
Residents at Bolton Clarke’s Milford Grange community at Ipswich were on a good wicket this Australia Day long weekend when the inaugural Bolton Clarke ‘big bash’ was hosted in their backyard.
13 November 2019
Plastic poppies pay recycled respects
Bolton Clarke Inverpine residential aged care community and retirement village has commemorated Remembrance Day with a special service including poppies handmade by residents from recycled materials.
18 October 2019
All the world's a stage for Winders resident Doug
For Bolton Clarke Winders retirement living resident Doug Williams, all the world’s a stage. Doug first trod the boards in Canberra in 1963 and more than 50 years later is still actively involved in local theatre.
04 October 2019
Bolton Clarke to partner on Shanghai projects
Bolton Clarke, one of Australia's most experienced not-for-profit aged care and senior living providers, has formalised a key joint venture agreement in China that will see the organisation partner on eight continuing care retirement communities serving one of the country’s largest population centres.
04 October 2019
Local goods, live music at Breezes market day
Local craft, plants and produce will be on sale at 40 stalls when Bolton Clarke’s Breezes Retirement Village at Mackay opens its doors for its fourth annual Market Day and Open House on Saturday, 12 October.
03 October 2019
Enjoy a Tea and Tour at Rowes Bay
Find out more about beachside retirement living in Townsville, join us for a friendly cuppa and meet some of our residents every Thursday from 10am-12pm. No booking required.
03 October 2019
Community feeling a joy for Rowes Bay retirees
Making the move to retirement living was a practical decision for Bolton Clarke Rowes Bay residents Leigh and Penny Douglas, but it’s the community lifestyle they have grown to love.
26 September 2019
Toowoomba retirees remember parades past
Every Carnival of Flowers is memorable. But for Bolton Clarke Westhaven retirement village residents, who turned the village bus into a float for Saturday’s grand parade through Toowoomba, sharing the memories of carnivals past was just as important as creating new ones.