Aged Care Narratives » Crikey! It’s Australia Day at Arcare
February 3, 2020
Written by Jamie Loh
Put on some footy franks and crack open a bottle of Baileys, because it’s time to celebrate Australia Day.
Typically most Aussies will spend Australia Day kicking back, enjoying a noice barbie in the arvo, with a mate or two.
Australia Day is all about reflecting, celebrating and recognising our nation, our achievements, our differences, what brings us all together and most importantly, our unique and wonderful communities.
This year, Arcare communities across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria celebrated Australia Day in true blue form. While enjoying a BBQ lunch, many clients and team members chose to spend Australia Day, reflecting on their own Australian stories, and what being Australian truly means to them. With many clients and team members coming from various backgrounds and cultures from around the world, Australia Day will always mean something different, for each individual.
Arcare’s dedicated lifestyle teams had a bit of a sticky-beak, and recorded their communities responses and stories. Here are some of their golden nuggets:
The Arcare Brighton community started their Australia Day celebrations early this year, using the whole week prior, to start their festive activities.
The week before, the clients went to work, creating cardboard tube Koalas in their arts and crafts program. Everyone agreed that their creations were very cute and the subject matter sparked a passionate conversation about the preservation and rehabilitation of the koala population.
“It’s nice to be doing something positive, especially after the recent devastation that the bushfires left behind.” One client said as she glued her koala figurine together.
The koala figurines were then placed on display in the foyer area, for the rest of the community to view and enjoy.
The residence was decorated from top to bottom, with Australian flags and green and gold imagery, in the hope that it would a evoke a sense of national pride and celebration throughout the community.
Over the course of the week, the community were treated to screenings of classic Australian movies such as The Castle and Australia.
On Thursday 23rd January, the Brighton community came together for their official Australia Day celebration. To no one’s surprise, a BBQ lunch was the highlight of the fair-dinkum occasion.
Lifestyle team member, Sophie and maintenance man, Geoff slaved over the hot BBQ to deliver a 5-star lunch for all.
In the afternoon, a delicious traditional afternoon tea was served. The afternoon tea consisted of Tim Tams, lamingtons and even some BBQ Shapes.
While everyone enjoyed their afternoon tea, the amazing Sally Carter performed. Australian songs such as: Waltzing Matilda, Click go the Shears, Aeroplane Jelly and I’m a happy little Vegemite, really tugged on everyone’s heartstrings.
Sally had lots of Australian facts and tidbits up her sleeve, and she enjoyed sharing her knowledge with everyone in between each song. To conclude the day, Sally sung the national anthem. The faces of many clients gleamed with pride as they sung the words.
The Arcare Caulfield community celebrated Australia Day with a visit from Barn Buddies.
Clients, team members and family members enjoyed an afternoon of farm animal fun, with many clients cuddling up to the furry friends.
While taking in the day and the patriotic spirit around the residence, 99 year old client and all-round legend, Gunner could be heard saying, “I’m so proud to be Australian!” and that there is nothing more Aussie than ‘watching the footy while eating a meat pie’.
The Arcare Cheltenham community are all very proud to be Australian.
In the morning, several clients engaged in a reflective lifestyle program, where they were asked to think about what makes Australia great.
One client instinctively answered, “Being Australian means that I’m free.”
After the exercise, the group began sharing their own Australian stories and journeys, with many revealing their heritages.
Client, Lydie shared her story, saying, “I came from Belgium, and I married an Australian. We moved to Queensland for his work, and because the weather in Queensland is just that nice. We later moved to Melbourne to be able to to closer to our family and spend time with our grandchildren. Now I live at Arcare.”
Everyone enjoyed reminiscing about their memories and about how good it is to be an Australian.
Team members and clients proudly wore yellow and green colours to the community’s celebration day, where a fair dinkum BBQ lunch was thrown for all to enjoy. During lunch, performer, Lino danced and sang for the client’s entertainment.
The Arcare Craigieburn community celebrated Australia Day with Aussie hits concerts, which spanned over the course of the week.
Community favourites, Ian Mitchell, Tony Merlino and Dean Sands performed for the community. The clients enjoyed singing along and dancing to the familiar tunes.
Aussie quizzes and word games were also played across the week. During this time, the clients shared their love for Australia and talked about all the places that they had visited around the country.
“I am proud Australian.” Client, Edward said.
The residence was decorated in Australian colours, and an iconic beach setup was put on display in the foyer. The beach display consisted of a beach tent, blanket, esky and umbrella. The display became quite the talking point amongst the residence, with visitors and clients reminiscing about their beach day stories with one another.
On Australia Day, the lifestyle team hosted a traditional Aussie BBQ for the clients. The clients were treated to a delicious BBQ prepared by our chef, consisting of Lamb chops, chicken kebabs, sausages, potato salad and coleslaw, which was followed by homemade pavlovas for dessert.
The Arcare Epping community celebrated Australia Day with a lovely BBQ lunch. Sitting outside in the lovely warm sunshine, made the day just that much more enjoyable for all. Lunch was followed by an Australia Day concert and the raffle draw.
The Arcare Keysborough community celebrated Australia Day with a special concert from performer and fan favourite, Natalie Jay. The performance was compromised with all Australian songs such as Waltz in Matilda and I Still Call Australia Home. The nostalgic songs made many emotional, while others found them to be incredibly uplifting, being inspired to get up and have a boogie.
Prior to Australia Day, several of clients also gathered together to be involved in a reflective activity, which involved clients sharing their favourite Australian stories. During the session, Arcare Keysborough client, June Dickson was inspired to tell the story of how her brother, Athol Kelly designed the modern green and gold Australian flag.
“My brother, Athol Kelly was travelling in Europe with his family in a campervan in 1974. The van had a Union Jack flag on the door. The French thought the family was British, and were not welcoming. It was then that my brother decided to design a flag with the unique Australian colours. Governor, Sir V Stephens and Prime Minister, Bob Hawke then gave their approval for the sporting colours to be changed from blue and gold to green and gold. The first time the flag was on show, was when it greeted the returning Olympians in the city, from the last games.” June recalled.
June is pictured below proudly waving her brother’s flag.
To celebrate Australia Day, the Arcare Maidstone community hosted a BBQ lunch and Aussie concert for their clients, team members, friends and family members to enjoy.
The BBQ was held in the residence’s courtyard, and a mixture of delicious sausages, burgers, salads and chicken kebabs were served.
After lunch, community favourite and entertainer, Tony Melino sung and played a variety of true blue songs for the crowd. The warm afternoon sun, inspired many to get up and dance along to the music.
The Arcare Maidstone community would like to wish everyone a very Happy Australia Day.
Written by Arcare Malvern East lifestyle coordinator, Tina Spencer.
My name is Athena Stella Spencer.
I was born in Alexandria Egypt as my grandmother was sent to live with her aunt Barbara after the death of her death mother Mary who gave birth to 12 children in 10 years.
My father was sent to Egypt during the 2nd World War as his brother Bill had been killed in battle and my grandmother Athena didn’t want to lose another son.
There he lived with his uncles for many years, married my mother Mary in 1953.
When Egypt gained its independence and was no longer a British Colony, the Egyptian Government confiscated all property owned by foreigners.
My family was forced to leave and chose Australia as their home as my mother said “ it was safer than America”, where other family members resided.
The family landed in Melbourne where we joined my Uncle Nick, Aunt Georgia and families
We are a small and close knit family who have called Australia home.
Written by Arcare Malvern East lifestyle assistant, Abbey Bradhurst.
My name is Abbey, and I was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1994.
I lived in Canada for 11 years with my parents, spending time in Vancouver and Calgary, Alberta until we moved to Darwin, Australia in 2005.
Being the new kid on the block who arrived at a new school half way through Year 5, I definitely stuck out a bit. Everyone commented on my strange accent, which was in the process of morphing from Canadian to Australian.
In 2014, I moved to Melbourne to study, and I’ve been here ever since. I think of Vancouver, Darwin and Melbourne equally as my ‘homeland’, and I feel like each place has been really important in shaping who I am. I think of my life in clearly defined stages, with each one set against the backdrop of a new city.
Written by Arcare Malvern East lifestyle assistant, Joyce Frenkel.
My parents immigrated to South Australia during January 1952. They left Egypt due to the change of Power bringing civil unrest and uncertainty. My heritage is made up of a kaleidoscope of countries.
On my mother’s side her ancestors came from Spain, but were expelled from there to due to the Spanish Inquisition. They then moved to Salonica (now Thessaloniki), which was a flourishing city. My grandmother and grandfather moved to Egypt for work commitments and this is where my mother was born.
My father and his ancestors came from Hungary, and before WWII broke out, he moved to Egypt for work commitments, and because his brother was there and sent for him.
Both my mother and father lived in Cairo, Egypt. However when there was unrest in Egypt, my mother, father and brother decided to leave. They planned to sail to Australia on the ship, Neptunia, with a stop over in Sri Lanka.
When they arrived in Australia in 1952, they purchased their first house in South Australia, taking out a large mortgage. My parents were always very proud that they were able to buy a house in Australia. In 1957, my parents became naturalised citizens.
As a kid, I remember going to school with mortadella sandwiches and being embarrassed, as the other kids had vegemite and hundreds and thousands etc.
This was the life of the baby boomers, born to these new immigrants.
I even remember my father insisting that his children only speak English, so we would not grow up with an accent.
Now I look around and see how multicultural we have become, and what wonderful influences all these cultures have brought to our country.
Today, it is very different to be Australian than it was in the 50’s. There is way more tolerance and acceptance.
This year, the Arcare Parkview community concurrently celebrated Australia Day alongside the residence’s 3rd birthday.
Clients gathered together in the upstairs lounge to listen to live Aussie tunes and nibble on lamingtons and mini cheesymite pin-wheels. After the live entertainment had finished, the community took a moment to sing happy birthday to the residence, alongside residence manager, Mary Varnas and Arcare Parkview’s longest standing client, Arthur Zetzer.
Arthur has been a client at Arcare Parkview, since the first day the community opened its doors, and he has been a much loved member of the community ever since.
After everyone finished singing Happy Birthday, Mary and Arthur cut the cake together and made a wish.
To celebrate Australia Day, the Arcare Reservoir community dressed in Aussie clothes, which included items that highlighted the national flag and the classic green and gold colours.
The community enjoyed a BBQ lunch together, and even a few cheeky cold ones to boot.
After lunch, the clients took part in a thong throwing competition. Everyone enjoyed the silliness of the competition, but became competitive with one another when it came to improving their skill and score.
In 2020, the Arcare Templestowe community celebrated their first Australia Day since opening their doors.
One client said, “It’s great that we can all come together and enjoy the simpler things in life. Some Aussie tunes, a sausage in bread, great company and a cold beer to wash it down; I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a day.”
Arcare would like to wish everyone a very Happy Australia Day.
Jamie Loh is Arcare's Community Marketing Officer for Queensland. Jamie joined the Arcare team in early 2019, stepping straight into her responsibilities which include communications with the broader community and some internal communications responsibilities. Jamie is a firm advocate for consistent, varied communications to help bridge the gap between those living in aged care residences and those living in wider communities. Jamie utilises a broad array of strategies to help improve messaging and boost brand awareness. Jamie is passionate about improving engagement between those who are enjoying their retirement in Arcare residences and family and friends who live in the wider community. She is always advocating for new methods of communicating, including new strategies and mediums. After graduating from Brisbane State High School in 2014, Jamie attended the University of Queensland where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Communications (Public Relations) and Arts (Japanese). During her time at the University of Queensland, Jamie attended an intensive exchange program at Waseda University in Tokyo for two months.