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Thursday, 16 February 2012
Page: 1695


Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (09:45): Last month, I joined residents of the Tea Tree Gardens Retirement Village in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the village. An afternoon tea held in the community centre at the village had been organised by residents to mark the occasion. Also in attendance were Tea Tree Gully deputy mayor, Bernie Keane, and local councillor, Graeme Denholm. There was much to celebrate as residents reflected on the past 25 years. The village consists of 270 home units. When it was built in 1987, it was one of the first of its kind to be built as a secure, well designed retirement living estate with a range of on-site recreation facilities, including an indoor swimming pool. Having seen several other retirement villages built subsequently, I have little doubt that the Tea Tree Gardens village served as a model for others to build on. It was also evident that the design and construction standards have withstood the test of time, and 25 years later the village still offers quality housing and amenities.

Of course the heart and soul of any community are its people, a point eloquently made by residents committee president, Brian Mitchell, when he addressed the residents. He is absolutely right. On the day, a photographic display and a specially prepared book documenting the first 25 years of the village reflected the spirit of residents and the range of activities, concerts and entertainment held on a regular basis. Time did not allow me to speak to all of the residents present, but, from my other visits to the centre, it is evident that not only do residents take pride in their village but, importantly, there is a wonderful co-operative spirit amongst them. I have little doubt that over the past 25 years many friendships were formed there.

The community goodwill of the residents extends beyond the village and many of the community events depicted in the photographic display were organised to raise funds for worthy charities. For example, in July last year, around 160 residents of the retirement village participated in Australia's Biggest Morning Tea and raised $1,300 for the Cancer Council. But it does not stop there. Since moving into the village over 20 years ago, Val Tatt, now 79 years old, has been volunteering her help in the adjacent Gleneagles nursing home. As a result, Val was nominated and selected for a Makin 2011 International Year of Volunteers award.

Another extraordinary resident is 81-year-old Fred Wilshaw, who last year swam four kilometres to raise money for multiple sclerosis. Fred swam again last Sunday. What makes Fred extraordinary is that he contracted polio as a child, which resulted in the crippling of his right leg. He also battled chronic arthritis and prostate cancer. It was a privilege for me to join residents in celebrating the Tea Tree Gardens village's 25th anniversary. I thank them for the courtesy they extended to me and to other guests, but more importantly I thank them for what they do for each other and for others outside their village.