The spirit of Australia Day is alive and well at Mercy Place Mandurah, with the aged care home’s residents taking part in a variety of themed events leading up to the national day.
From Australian poetry readings to creative arts conveying “what Australia means to us”, seniors at the not-for-profit home are celebrating Australia Day all week long.
The celebrations will culminate in an Australian-themed barbecue on Australia Day itself, with residents set to get dressed up in ‘down under’-themed garb.
And amongst them will be 86-year-old Ken Butcher, who was born in Bunbury on 6 May 1932 and has travelled extensively throughout ‘the lucky country’ — at one point spending nine years on the road, along with his wife Eva Kate.
“I’m Australian born and bred and very proud to be just that,” says Mr Butcher, who is the youngest of 13 children, and is the father to six children and 15 grandchildren.
“Australians are so friendly and I’ve had so much opportunity during my life in this country,” he says. “I’ve only been overseas twice, once to Mauritius and once to England, and although I loved the UK I would hate to live there.
“No matter where you come from, if you live in Australia you are Australian, and that’s what I think makes our country so special.”
Mercy Place Mandurah Service Manager, Christina Venables, who was born in Zimbabwe, says Mercy Health had a rich cultural diversity amongst its team in Mandurah, with many staff members as well as residents having moved to Australia from overseas.
“I think we’re all very excited about celebrating Australia Day,” she says. “Our lifestyle staff have planned some great events leading up to Australia Day this year to really engage residents with the spirit of our great nation.
“Certainly the Mercy Health team, as well as our residents, are hugely proud to be Australian, and at the same time we are very respectful of other people’s backgrounds, religions and heritage.”
Find out more about Mercy Health.