News & Events

From the CEO

September 12, 2019

The tempo is building. The excitement is evident. We are in the final swing of organising what promise to be entertaining and engaging celebrations at all our villages to mark our 150th anniversary. And we hope you are coming!

Already many of our house tours are booking up, so to avoid disappointment, I suggest that you book in now. Make sure, too, that you read the overview of each event so that you know what is happening and when, as well as parking arrangements.

In this newsletter, you will read about some of our residents and staff who are taking part in the village events. Dorothy, from our Braeside village, is opening her home as part of the house tours; Rhyss, a gardener at Rushall Park, is turning into a scarecrow for the day; Gillian from Currie Park is creating a special artwork that highlights what ‘home’ means to the villagers; and from our archives we share information about Arthur C Leith, after whom Leith Park was named.

Our Association is very proud of its noble history, and with good reason. We will share a glimpse of this past at each village through our Beyond the Gate exhibition. The exhibition will time travel from 1869 to now, showcasing some of the wonderful characters who have been involved in making OCAV what it is today.

Drama and music has always been a feature of life in every village a throwback to 1871, when George Coppin founded the Australasian Dramatic and Musical Association.

An actor himself, Coppin knew only too well the hardships that many actors faced in early colonial times. Just as he saw a need to provide homes for ‘necessitous old colonists’ so too did he see the need to set up an asylum for ‘decayed actors.’ His vision came to fruition in 1878 when the government of the day granted land next to and to the north of the Old Colonists’ Homes to build ‘Dramatic Homes.’

Today our villages remain home to retired actors, musicians, and artists – and our celebratory events will include music and drama, including a concert at Rushall Park’s Garden Party by esteemed singer Margret RoadKnight.

Of course, we are also working on other fronts – including welcoming Lynette Geer and her husband Keith – into Acacia, one of the new Leith Park apartments. In early August, we officially launched the exercise park at Leith Park; we are pleased to say residents taking part in the Enjoy research program are reaping the benefits of a tailored seniors’ exercise park.

Also in August, at the start of Homelessness Week, we took over the steps of Parliament House in Victoria to lay out the jenga blocks, each with a word outlining what home means to our residents. The interest from passers-by was evident, and the presence of 450 blocks on the steps was emotional. I hope you enjoy reading more about this important event which will be a highlight of our 150th anniversary.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at each event. It is not every day that we can celebrate turning 150 years’ young!

At a glance

Braeside Park: 19 Clyde Road, Berwick.

Saturday 12 October

1pm – 3.30pm


House tours are free.


Leith Park: 339 St Helena Road, St Helena.  If you are driving please park at St Helena Secondary College, 50 Wallowa Rd, Eltham North; minibuses will be waiting for you.

Sunday 20 October

1pm – 3.30pm

House tours:

House tours are free.


Rushall Park: 20 Rushall Crescent, Fitzroy North

Sunday 27 October

1pm – 4pm

General admission booking:

House tours:

(House tours costs $15 (family), $12 (single) and $10 (concession).

There is no parking onsite however plenty available in the surrounding streets.


Currie Park: 58 Weir Street, Euroa

Saturday 23 November

12noon – 3.30pm

House tours: 

Parking is on-site via Boundary Road South


Evon makes it a priority to help people make the move into a village as easy as possible. She also works to ensure the new residents feel a strong sense of welcome and belonging.

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