News & Events

Contribute to OCAV’s history!

April 8, 2020

It is hard to believe that living through the pandemic of coronavirus could have an important historic upside.

According to Penny Underwood, OCAV’s 150th anniversary project manager, the pandemic offers residents and staff alike the opportunity to document how COVID19 is affecting their lives and contribute to the Association’s history.

OCAV is inviting staff and residents to share their words, poetry, photographs, recipes, artwork – anything that speaks to their experiences, thoughts and observations during this time of the coronavirus.

“Everyone’s lives have been turned upside down by the stringent measures that are in place to contain and reduce the spread of the coronavirus,” Penny said.

“And everyone has different ways of dealing with the effects of the statewide lockdown, and this sense of an upside-down daily life is what we want to capture,” she added.

In every village, there are residents who have turned to art and books, others are gardening, some have taken up knitting and writing,” she said.

Residents are already recording the random acts of kindness happening in all villages – from leaving cupcakes and other baked goodies – on people’s doorsteps through to dropping off wool to neighbours who have run out of yarn for their knitting.”

“What we would love is for people to share these photos, their musings and other accounts with us so that we can build up a picture of the very different year that 2020 is,” Penny said.

She says that the OCAV public history project will be an important contribution to the Association’s archives, helping the OCAV community to understand the extraordinary as well as the ordinary aspects of this pandemic.

As part of the 150th anniversary celebrations, Penny and residents including Mary Tasker (Braeside Park), Geoff and Dianne Blair (Leith Park), Ellen Doyle and Trish Benedict (Currie Park) and Ruth Richardson and Heather Hodge (Rushall Park) ploughed through the extensive archives to create an online timeline as well as Beyond the Gate exhibition which travelled to each village festival.

“The timeline describes many of the milestone events of OCAV since its foundation in 1869, telling stories of some of the characters who played a major part in the history,” she said.

OCAV archives include the writings of village life by Anne Jeffery, who worked in the village as secretary to the superintendent starting in 1942 and donated money to build and live in her own cottage until failing health saw her move to the village’s Residential care where she died in 1994.

“Through her journals – as well as the minute books of the Association’s Council – we learn so much about the life and times through the years as well as residents, staff, donors and the history of the day,” Penny said.

The contributions may be shared on social media to inspire others. All will be stored carefully and there is the potential to create a virtual and physical exhibition.

Contributions should be sent to Penny Underwood on detailing whether you would prefer your involvement to be shared with others on social media or in stories or to be kept solely for archival purposes. Please keep attachments to 2MB maximum for artwork and photographs.

Photograph: Rushall Park resident Pam Heath takes a photograph of Joan Huggan who gave Elsa Clune some wool so she could continue with her knitting.


Keith White, who had heart surgery two years ago, reckons he’s better now than he has ever been. He puts his state of health and well-being down to the life he has found at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa.

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