Victorian centenarians kick up their heels

Victorian centenarians kick up their heels

Five Melbourne centenarians joined in Bolton Clarke’s first Victorian Centenarian Club  celebration on 12 October, coinciding with the Victorian Seniors Festival.

Channel 9 presenter Peter Hitchener was Master of Ceremonies at the high tea event at Melbourne Town Hall.

Centenarian guests enjoyed entertainment from The Sassy Sisters and shared their more than 500 years of lived experience during a chat with Mr Hitchener.

Bolton Clarke Chairman Pat McIntosh said Bolton Clarke welcomed about 50 new centenarians each year among its Melbourne At Home Support clients.

“It is our privilege to support our centenarian clients who come from across Melbourne,” he said.

Centenarian guests at the event were:

Alice

Alice was born in Trieste, Italy on September 28, 1918. She came to Australia at age 35 with her husband Bert and their two children, and worked at the Royal Melbourne Hospital laundry for about 10 years.

The family lived at Moonee Ponds and later moved to Sunshine. Alice loves singing, dancing, sewing and knitting and she still enjoys two glasses of wine a day.

Stan

Stan was born in Lithuania on 29th April 1916 and arrived in Melbourne as a young Baltic refugee in 1949.

After settling in Mount Waverly and while working and raising a family, one of his spare time activities was leading a stringed instrument ensemble. The instrument is the ‘kanklės’, also known as a lap harp.  It is an ancient Lithuanian musical instrument, played since time immemorial by minstrels along the Baltic Sea coast.

Keeping up this ancient tradition in Australia, Stan established the “Vaidilutė” kanklės ensemble, a volunteer group of non-professional musicians. The group’s beautiful instruments were hand-made by Stan himself.  Examples of his work are housed in the National Museum in Canberra.

Stan, now aged 102, continues to lead the ensemble to this day. It is the only Lithuanian ‘kanklės’ orchestra in Australia. With its gentle renditions of traditional Lithuanian folk music, “Vaidilutė” has enhanced countless Lithuanian and multicultural events over the years.  In 2018 it was a guest performer at Lithuania’s 100th Anniversary concerts in the capital Vilnius.

Eunice

Eunice was born on 11 July, 1918 and grew up at Yarraville, later living at West Footscray. While she always wanted to be a nurse, her mother encouraged her to sew. When she was 21, her father served in World War II and became a Prisoner of War. He never returned home. Eunice joined the Army as a Nurse’s aide during the war. She considers having her daughter among the highlights of her life. She enjoys travelling and in her 90s visited her grandson in Oregon, and she like challenging her brain by watching Eddie McGuire while doing her knitting.

Mario

Mario was born on 31 May, 1915 and grew up in Popoli, in the Abruzzo region of Italy.

He came to Australia in the 1950s and took a pick and shovel job before working for General Motors. He is a keen gardener and lives at Niddrie.

Doris

Doris was born on 28 July, 1918 on Williamstown Rd in Yarraville. She and her family lived there for seven years before moving to Aberfeldie, and she attended Aberfeldie State School.

She worked as a seamstress before becoming a missionary, when she worked around West Heidelberg, walking seven miles through open paddocks to visit families in need.

Doris’ grandmother taught her to sew and she says she was always sewing. She met her husband, who sold dress fabric, while working in South Melbourne and they were married for 50 years. These days she keeps busy with her garden, her church and an active lifestyle. She says prunes are among the secrets to her good health.

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