April 5, 2010

AUSTRALIA: Treasure in golden years

. BAYSWATER, Victoria / Monash Journal / News / April 5, 2010 By Gilbert Gardiner GROWING old is a frightening proposition for many people in today's image-obsessed society. But, for centenarians Evelyn Heal, 102, Olive Woods, 101, Gordon Henry, 101, and Win Kennedy, 100, life is pretty good. Living at Walmsley Friendship Village in Melbourne's outer east is simple for the four residents. "There's something in the water here," team leader Kerry McEvoy said. "There wouldn't be too many aged-care facilities with four centenarians." The youngest of nine children, Mrs Kennedy is hard to miss as she does the rounds, book in hand, with no hearing aids, walking aids or glasses. Golden years: Front, from left, Evelyn Heal and Olive Woods, and rear, Gordon Henry and Win Kennedy are heavily involved in life at Walmsley Friendship Village. Picture: Rob Carew Unlike the rest of her family, who were born in the UK, Mrs Kennedy was born near Launching Place. As a result she was dubbed the "awful little Australian" by her brothers. "They were English, you know, too good for us Australians," she said. "I've had the last laugh though." The Melbourne High School graduate and hockey player moved to Seymour with her husband Edward in 1935. The Kennedys had two children - a daughter now living in Melbourne and a son in NSW. Mrs Kennedy said she had no secret for her longevity, other than a lifelong passion for reading. Among them, the four centenarians have 14 children, 38 grandchildren and 44 great-grandchildren. [rc] Copyright © 2010. Fairfax Media