News & Events

Barry creates his bush block

December 11, 2016

Barry Hammond dreamed of growing old in a simple bush hut, surrounded by trees and animals, near a lake for fishing. His health robbed him of that dream, but he reckons Leith Park is the next best thing.


Most days, rain, hail or shine Barry is out in the garden, the sanctuary he has created during his six years at the Leith Park village. He sits in his front garden, reads his Bible and watches life go past. He often brings a stop to the passing traffic with the offer of a cup of tea and his home-made scones.


“I am outside every minute of the day that I can, as soon as the sun’s up. I love being outside. There are a lot of trees around Leith Park and I love being around trees,” Barry said.


Barry, who was a pig farmer in nearby Panton Hill for much of his life, had no garden when he first moved in to the independent living unit at the suggestion of his daughter who was worried about his poor health.


Since then he has turned into a bit of a gardener, doing up his garden furniture and creating a space where he can spend most of his days when he is well. “There was no garden when I came so I have been lucky that I could create what I wanted and the people here have been very good letting me do it.”


Barry, 80, has recently learnt to make scones and finds they tempt his neighbours wandering past. He is happy to put the kettle on and invite people to join him for a chat and a cuppa if they have the time. Each morning he has morning tea with his 95-year-old neighbor and they discuss the events of the world and Leith Park.


Barry reckons he is lucky to be living around good people and he enjoys his lot, especially his two sons and two daughters and 11 grandchildren who live around the area.


“I live close to the Austin Hospital which is also handy because I am not going to get better,” he laughs. “I am a pretty determined person and I am determined to enjoy what I have and not worry about what I don’t have. I think that’s the best way to be, just make the most of it all.”

Caption: Barry in his garden with his neighbour, Thelma Michelson.

Sanctuary is how artist Gillian Coates describes her home at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa. “When I go to Melbourne and I am heading back to Euroa, I can’t wait to get home to the peacefulness of this place. It is like a sanctuary for me."

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