Seniors Week 2021

1. Overview

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This year we are celebrating Seniors Week by showcasing some of the incredible senior citizens who have given a lot to our communities.

Read through their stories to get to know them a little better.

You can submit your own story via the link below.

To get involved in the Victorian state online festival, you can access it here

 

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2. Pat Jarrett 

Image of Pat Barrett Childhood was happy and carefree growing up in Pat’s family, where they shared plenty of love and, most of all, they always had a good laugh.

From a very young age Pat demonstrated a real passion for not only helping other people but also animals. She recalls as a child bringing home stay cats, dogs, even horses and was very fortunate her parents also shared her love for animals.

So it came as no surprise when Pat became an ambulance driver for the Lord Smith Animal Hospital.

In 1967 Pat and her husband relocated to the country after living in Kew, Melbourne.

To begin with Pat felt lost because it was so different from city living; she couldn’t walk out her front door and hop on a tram to go shopping at Myer or to the hairdressers.

Over time Pat discovered the country held its own strength including a supportive, friendly and welcoming community with wonderful local shops.

One of the first things Pat was involved with after moving to the country was to organise a fashion parade for Monica Mentha, who owned the local fashion store.

Not only was this incredibly fun, but Pat built friendships and travelled locally to present the latest fashions in the industry.

Through an amazing 65 year marriage, Pat and her late husband John owned two farms in Barooga, one being the historic Barooga Station built in 1847 which holds many stories of its own.

Pat said she was lucky that John also shared her love for animals as she never stopped being sucker for a stray!

At the age of 95 Pat is still strong, healthy and humorous.

Q&A with Pat

What is the best thing that has ever been invented?

The telephone is marvellous.
I was a telephonist at a number of big hotels in Melbourne during the war.
I remember having to book in a phone call on the trunk line and at times, when there was a delay, you would just have to wait for the call to come through.
The invention of penicillin and improvements in modern day medicine is also wonderful.

What did you used to do for fun?

I wanted to be an actress when I was younger and I would see auditions and put my name down.
I also entered some singing competitions and I sang for six weeks at Hoyts when I was 16.
I had the confidence and I could go anywhere and present myself.

What was your favourite sweet when you were a child?

­Polly Waffles and they were about seven pence.

What is the most important lesson you learned in life?

Accept others for who they are, enjoy their friendship and have love for family.

Who has been you biggest influence?

My parents, I loved them dearly and they were great fun.
I also had a gorgeous husband for 65 years and a wonderful family.

If you could go back to any age, what age would it be and why?

My late teens and early 20s I had a happy life; I milked cows during the war and I had a busy social life before meeting John.
That’s when my life really took off before being married at 26.

What was the proudest moment of your life?

One of my proudest moments was when John won an award for bravery after he rescued a man who was drowning in flood water.
We had a lovely marriage and wonderful kids. 

What would you like to be remembered for?

Smiling, friendliness and being welcoming.
For people to think of me and smile.

What was your all-time favourite Holiday?

Away on a yacht in the Pacific; my husband built a yacht called Banjo Patterson, a 60 footer which he raced. After a race we sailed to Fiji and cruised around the islands for a month.
As a child it was going to the Mallee on the farm in my school holidays. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to anyone?

Be yourself, your best self you can find and stick with it and don’t forget to remember people’s names.
There is nothing sweeter than the sound of your own name and if it comes with a smile you don’t forget it in a hurry.    

3. Gary Ennals

Image of Gary Ennals After travelling around the world 10 times, it’s safe to say Gary has had some pretty extraordinary adventures!

Growing up, both his parents were hard workers who had been through the war, but it was a great time to be living in Cobram.

He describes all the local parents had a terrific work ethic and a great social life, being involved in square dancing, playing cards and he loved playing with all the other children on the front lawn wherever they went. It was a terrific life.

It was a big thing to go to a movie at the Cobram Melba Theatre once a week if you were lucky.

Life was simple – children just went to school, played and swam in the channels.

Gary attained his swimming certificates in the channel before a few of the locals campaigned to get a swimming pool built in Cobram.

Dawn Fraser came to open the Cobram Swimming Pool and as a child he thought it was amazing and that it was it was big to swim there.

Gary farmed all his life and travelled around Australia for 12 months in 1967 before spending 12 months working in England.

In 1971 he bought a London cab and drove it all around Europe, into Africa, over to the Atlas Mountains and into the Sahara desert far as Turkey.

But even after all Gary’s travels he still believes we live in the greatest country and Cobram and surrounds is one of the best places in the world.

Gary has been a hands on member and president of a variety of clubs and committees including Apex, the Cobram Football Club and Peaches and Cream.

Q&A with Gary

What is the best thing that has ever been invented?

Music, as it can create a conversation with anyone.

What did you used to do for fun?

Ride bikes, play sport, swim in the channel and play with my mates.

What was your first car and how much did it cost?

I used to hire a car off my parents to take the ladies out but my first car was a Spitfire Triumph when I was 19, which was a sports car and it cost me a couple thousand dollars.

What is the most important lesson you learned in life?

Be a good person.
If you do something good, something good will come back to you.

Who has been your biggest influence?

My parents, they always gave us plenty of encouragement and they were good, honest people.

If you could go back to any age, what age would it be and why?

My life has been pretty full the whole way through.
I don’t have a favorite age, I have enjoyed my life the whole way through.

What was the proudest moment of your life?

I was on television a few times singing as a little boy, playing sport and being a best man.

What are things that make you happy now?

Going out to have a lunch with good company, great food and a few drinks.

What would you like to be remembered for?

A good person and being friendly.

What was your all-time favourite holiday?

When I went away with eight mates.

What is one piece of advice you would give to anyone?

All you need to do is say hello. 

4. Denise Kennedy

Image of Denise Kennedy Denise and her husband relocated to Moira Shire in 1970 for work with their two young children.

Although Denise was born in Melbourne and grew up in Albury, she had very strong ties to the area – her mother was born in Cobram and was one of 10 children to the Cobram blacksmith.

A piece of her grandfather’s workmanship is on display at the Yarroweyah Town Hall. 

As a young girl, going to the movies with her sister on a Sunday afternoon was a weekly treat, it was one shilling to get in and nine pence for a White Knight.

Denise also recalled her father taking them to the Wednesday night drive-in double feature of western cowboy movies, of course black and while in those days.

Denise worked alongside her husband of 51 years and says they always worked stronger as a duo, both in running a business and also giving back to the community.

She believes the secret to any successful relationship, either in marriage or in a volunteering or work capacity, is to always be able to have a discussion, then letting it go if needed.

With a passion for sewing prior, Denise took the opportunity to establish the Numurkah and District Machine Knitters.

More recently, Denise dedicates the majority of her time to the Wunghnu Recreation Reserve.

Q&A with Denise

What is the best thing that has ever been invented?

The internet, it has opened up the whole world, you know what’s going on oversees as it's happening and it’s just the best thing.

What did you used to do for fun?

Swimming and I played tennis at school.

I worked mostly because if you wanted money you needed to go out and work for it.

What was your favourite sweet when you were a child?

White Knights from the pictures which is like a chocolate coated nougat.

I would end up feeling sick because it was so rich.

What is the most important lesson you learned in life?

To be honest; If you tell a lie you’ve got to remember it and you never remember a lie.

If you tell the truth you might tell it a slightly different way each time but it always ends up being the same story.

Always tell the truth.

Who has been your biggest influence?

My biggest influences are probably my parents.

If you could go back to any age, what age would it be and why?

My 40s – still young and agile to do everything, in good health and have been there done that to know what not to do in the future.

Life was pretty good because we worked hard, owned what we had and lived within our means comfortably.

What was the proudest moment of your life?

Getting married and having two kids.

We have raised two really good children that are hardworking and caring.

What are things that make you happy now?

Having a roof over my head and food on the table.

What would you like to be remembered for?

I would like my kids to remember us as kind parents. 

5. Laurie Kennedy

Image of Laurie Kennedy When it comes to community contribution, you will be hard pressed to find anyone as committed and passionate as Laurie Kennedy.

Laurie has been involved in a number of community groups and projects including being a member of the Apex and Rotary clubs and the local CFA brigade, plus his dedication to the Wunghnu Miniature Rail.

One of his most memorable volunteer roles was supervising male offenders who were completing their community service at the Wunghnu Recreation Reserve.

His efforts not only proved to have a positive effect on the participants in the program, with both life skills and future employment opportunities, but Laurie was also officially recognised for his contributions.

As a young fellow, Laurie described his life as ‘hard but good’.

His morning routine included chores such as collecting the eggs, feeding the chooks and gathering the morning’s fire wood.

Laurie’s father would milk the cows, while young Laurie and his mum would separate the milk and cream to make into butter.

He recalls on his mile long journey to school each morning, he would take the cows back to their paddock and then bring them in again for the afternoon milking on his way home.

Roast was a tradition every Sunday, whether it be the orphan lambs they had reared, one of the hundreds of chickens his father had purchased or his mum’s specialty, roast rabbit.

Laurie and his wife of 51 years settled in Moira Shire in 1959 to raise their two children, where he was employed by the Numurkah Shire before moving into orchards and later selling his woodwork.

Q&A with Laurie

What is the best thing that has ever been invented?

The computer and everything you can do on a computer, mobile phones, the World Wide Web is fantastic.
The challenge is that I was born 30 years too early for all the new technology to understand and use it.

What did you do for fun when you were younger?

I always worked, but I used to ride my bike to the football ground and was a boundary umpire.
I also played and coached basketball.

What was your favourite sweet when you were a child and how much was it?

Dad would buy a quarter pound block of Cadbury’s chocolate once a fortnight. Which was around 18 cents.

What is the most important lesson you learned in life?

Be honest and do unto others as you would have them unto you.

Who has been your biggest influence?

Sir Weary Dunlop, a medical war veteran – meeting him was breath taking.

If you could go back to any age, what age would it be and why?

1948 I would have been 6 or 7 – life was simple with no hassles.
We didn’t have a lot of things but we didn’t know any better; life was hard but it was good.

What was the proudest moment of your life?

Receiving two awards for the work I do with Corrections and one I received from the Rotary Club in Numurkah.
Also when my two kids came along – I have a son and a daughter.

What would you like to be remembered for?

For who I am.      

6. Trevor Lewin

Image of Trevor Lewin Settling in Yarrawonga in 1969 Trevor began his career as a teacher at the Yarrawonga High School.

Over his 26 years at the school Trevor taught commerce, typing for juniors, VCE accounting, legal studies, economics, and was the careers advisor.

His journey of teaching started when one of his favourite teachers encouraged Trevor to become a teacher.

Trevor grew up in Northcote and after university remembers stopping outside of Yarrawonga to listen to the football grand final.

His first impression of the town was it being nice and quiet and the lake was an attribute, plus he loved the country, so when he saw a teaching position become available he went for it.

Back when Trevor was at university and the start of Trevor’s teaching career there were no computers only typewriters.

Trevor now spends much of his time volunteering as assistant treasurer at the Yarrawonga Neighbourhood House where he enjoys keeping the staff on their toes.

In the gardens at the Yarrawonga Neighbourhood House you’ll find a chair that was made by students at Yarrawonga P-12 and dedicated to Trevor for his much-appreciated time volunteering at the House over many years.

Trevor is a true believer in keeping active and that it’s the best way to stay healthy.

Q&A with Trevor

What is the best thing that has ever been invented?

The computer because it can do various things including being a calculator.

What did you used to do for fun?

Played tennis, did a lot of walking, go to the movies down Swanston Street, gardening including running some hens.
I also worked a lot to help support my family through university.

What was your favourite sweet when you were a child?

Homemade chocolate pudding.

What is the most important lesson you learned in life?

Be honest with people, tell them what you think and being reliable.

Who has been your biggest influence?

My mum; we were similar and she was loyal to dad and the family.

If you could go back to any age, what age would it be and why?

My early 20s when I was in my early days of teaching.
The teachers were young and we used to go to the pub after work then go swimming at the lake.
We also played tennis and I would do a bit of walking and bike riding.

What was the proudest moment of your life?

Going on stage at Melbourne University and receiving my Bachelor of Commerce from the Prime Minister.
I also had some proud times with students.

What are things that make you happy now?

Being active, enjoying the company of others and being healthy.

What would you like to be remembered for?

Providing service to the Yarrawonga High School.

What is one piece of advice you would give to anyone?

Be honest and listen to others.    

7. Peter Murray

Image of Peter Murray A local entrepreneur, pig farmer and inventor, Peter grew up in Moira Shire and still lives on his parents’ soldier settlement farm they've owned since 1948.

Peter recalls many soldier settlement children in Yarroweyah, and shared the school bus stop with around 25 children.

For his first year of school, Peter attended the Yarroweyah School prior to it being closed.

All the kids would ride their horses to school and put them in a big yard.

Peter said he remembered when receiving a vaccine at school the students would stand in long rows and they were vaccinated with the same needle, it would just be waved over a blue flame to sterilise. 

From a young age, Peter used to just create mechanical masterpieces such as joining two push bikes together to make a tandem bike.

This was made possible by having access to a welder and angle grinder.

One of Peter’s most memorable builds was a go-cart that went 115 miles per hour, describing it as pretty dangerous and needing extra modifications because of the speed it went.

 

Peter was involved in a number of clubs and committees including Cobram Football Club, Cobram Pony Club and Apex, where he was heavily involved in the iconic Peaches and Cream Festival.

Q&A with Peter

What is the best thing that has ever been invented?

One of my many inventions were toilets on a semi-trailer, which came about from being involved in Peaches and Cream.
I had a total of 15 trailers running but sadly they haven’t moved much recently due to Covid.
The trailers travelled all over Australia for events.

What did you used to do for fun?

We built up high speed go-carts, put a V8 in an old car and did some water skiing up and down the river as well as clay shooting, which I won a few awards in.
At school I used to play marbles and often won.

What was your first car and how much did it cost?

Morris 1100 bought in 1964 and it was about 900 pounds.

What was your favourite sweet when you were a child?

I would have a couple on pennies and go into the milk bar to fill a little white paper bag by pointing out some lollies in containers behind a counter until I would spend sixpence.
Jaffa’s and musk sticks were on the top of the list.
I didn’t get lollies often, it was a bit of a treat.

What is the most important lesson you learned in life?

Getting life experiences and building on them.
Not giving up, keep at it until you get it right.
I always had something on the go, building something. 

Who has been your biggest influence?

My father was a hard worker and my mother was there to care for and guide us.
My father was a fighter pilot in the war and we were lucky he came home.
They took him out of the plane as they discovered he didn’t have great vision so he became a pilot teacher instead.
My mum was one of my biggest influences.
She was very community-minded and she would ensure that we spoke very cleverly and used the right phrases.

If you could go back to any age, what age would it be and why?

My 20s because I was a little more in control of my life.
I used to race the V8s over at Wilby and they were good times – it was a pretty open and free time.

What was the proudest moment of your life?

When I had my children.
It was amazing having children.

What are things that make you happy now?

Having the money to travel the world, not that we can do it just now.

What would you like to be remembered for?

Helping people and giving people ideas.

What was your all-time favourite holiday?

Going over to Ulladulla often and going scuba diving.
During the days of Apex, we used to fly to parts of Australia for the weekend. There isn’t much of Australia that I haven’t seen.

What is one piece of advice you would give to anyone?

Just go out and do it, life is pretty short.
If you want to do it just get out and do it.    

8. Submit your story here

If you or someone you know is considered senior and you have a great story to tell, let us know below!

Council is collecting your personal information to use in an online story book which is being created as part of Seniors Week. The information will be used for the purpose it was collected and will be available to the public for viewing on the Moira Shire Council’s website.

You can find out more about how we use and protect your information by viewing our Privacy Statement on our website - www.moira.vic.gov.au. If you require access to the information you have provided, please contact Council