News & Events

Party time at Leith Park to celebrate a ‘beautiful community’

December 9, 2019

Music filled Leith Park village as young people from surrounding schools sang to welcome visitors as they meandered through the gardens taking in the sights and sounds of the 150th Anniversary Festival.

From the choral greeting by Loyola College choir through to jazz by St Helena Secondary College, and flute ensembles and other instrumental interludes by Eltham High School and Parade College students, there was little doubt that something special was going on in Liscombe House and throughout Leith Park on Sunday 20 October.

Over 450 visitors turned up to celebrate the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria’s sesquicentennial, and what a showcase of support and care for older Victorians they enjoyed.

Karen Ernest, residents’ coordinator, said: “We wanted to show off Leith Park and Liscombe House and judging by the many comments, visitors were thrilled with what they found.”

Her words were echoed by the Hon Vicki Ward, MP for Eltham, who formally opened the Festival saying: “One of the hallmarks of a strong community is the involvement of people, and ongoing initiatives. Leith Park and Liscombe House are living examples of that.”

“The program is filled with lots of fun activities, many of which replicate what happens every day. And to think that many people believe that time stands still in a retirement village and Residential care,” she said.

In Liscombe House, visitors enjoyed the Beyond the Gate exhibition, learning about the origins of the Association in Melbourne as well as in Leith Park. The Greensborough Historical Society was on-site to help with the many questions about local history, and the links with OCAV.

Visitors marvelled at the model trains and stations created by the Liscombe House men’s group while others queued to have a go at virtual reality and learn more about the Association is working with the technology to reduce social isolation.

Children had a field day having their faces painted, answering questions to win a succulent, while others joined in Stretch and Flex with Vera, enjoying the chance of light exercise designed to keep people’s muscles moving. Outside Liscombe House, visitors enjoyed the chance to have a go on the outside exercise park especially designed for seniors. The eight-station park had as much of a work-out as the participants.

Down the hill, visitors were treated to an afternoon tea of scones, cream and jam while others relished the sausage sizzle put in by the Bundoora Rotary Club.

Fuelled by food, there was more to see from demonstrations in the Men’s Shed through to garden tours and tours of some of the original homes and the chance to visit one of the newly built architecturally designed apartments, with several putting their name down for more information.

“It was wonderful to visit with my little family, they loved seeing the garden and the kids had a ball getting their faces painted and taking photos at the photo booth. You and your team are to be congratulated on such a gorgeous event, it was so very well organised. From the minibus that took us up to Leith Park, to the delicious tea and scones and the wonderful volunteers… you all must be so proud of the beautiful community you have created.”

Volunteering is important to Deb, enabling her to contribute in the aged care sector. “I love it when the residents get downright cheeky. I love it when we get a bit too loud with laughing."

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