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Taking the meaning of home to Parliament House

August 8, 2019

 Haven, security, peace, garden, and love were among the words that stood out on 450 blocks of wood that were placed on the steps of Parliament House on Monday 5 August, the start of Homelessness Week.

Each block contained a different word describing what home meant to every resident living in the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria’s four retirement villages.

The effect was described by one passer as ‘an amazing living art work, a peaceful political statement which is creative and thoughtful.”

Five residents – Erica, Robyn, Val, and Kathryn – helped to place the blocks, made by the Men’s Shed at Leith Park retirement village, on the steps, and talked about OCAV to passers-by.

Among those who stopped where school children who wanted to learn more about homelessness in general.

Luke, a young student from Braybrook Secondary College told the residents that he had never really thought about what home meant.

“When you see these words together, and when you see people in the streets, it really does make the importance of home real,” Luke said.

Mr Wohlers said that it was important not to make assumptions about people who were homeless.

“Homelessness or being vulnerably housed – in private rental for instance which is not affordable for many, many people – can happen to anyone for any reason from divorce to losing a job to family violence,” he said.

OCAV was founded 150 years ago by Parliamentarian George Coppin and other wealthy colonists to house and care for older Victorians in need.

“This is our symbolic gesture to draw attention to the powerful vision that our founder had 150 years ago, and little has changed. We still need safe, affordable housing for older Victorians,” CEO Phillip Wohlers said.

The Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria is a member of Everybody’s Home campaign, which is calling on all governments to start work on a bipartisan, national homelessness action plan by the end of 2019.

The wooden blocks will be on show at each village’s 150th celebration:

Braeside Park– Saturday 12 October

Leith Park – Sunday 20 October

Rushall Park – Sunday 27 October

Currie Park – Saturday 23 November.


“Our home has always been a place where family and friends are welcome.  Our cottage at Rushall Park is no different and the community of friends here is important to us and that’s why their work is part of my art box,” Jennifer Barden said.

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