These stories celebrate the contributions and diversity of people who are part of the Victorian Seniors Festival.
Alan and Mary from Mansfield

Alan and Mary O'leary

Mansfield couple Mary and Alan O’Leary are a great example of the volunteering spirit.
Mary is involved with meals on wheels and Alan drives the 'Friday Bus' taking groups of people to shire events.

Read more about Alan and Mary

Doris Parry

Doris Parry is a country girl, growing up the oldest of nine in Bridgewater on the Loddon River. As a young woman she moved to Melbourne for work at the National Bank on Collins Street. The bank took her to St James – near Yarrawonga – where she met Kel, her husband-to-be. He was a musician and farmer. They married, and Doris moved to the farm in Powlett Plains that Kel’s great-great-grandfather had selected.

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Hawa Del

When Hawa’s husband died in 1991, she was left with no money and didn’t know where to turn. Originally from Somalia, Hawa was living in Italy with her four children. Initially they went to Kenya and then they decided to try Australia, arriving as refugees in 1993.

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Ian Boon

Ian has always worked hard. Driving trucks, delivering furniture, working on a cattle station, labouring on a dairy farm or working as a mechanic, security guard and on the railways, he was always keen to put in a full day’s work.

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June Smith

June is a fiercely independent woman. She is well known by her many friends as the junior Senior! She has a degenerate eye condition called RP (retinitis pigmentosa) which begins with night blindness and often leads to total blindness. Vision Australia assist and support her and an orientation and mobility specialist teaches her white cane techniques to enable her to move around with safety.

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Lee Albert

When Lee turned 72 she fulfilled a long-held ambition of working with silver. She started with a course at the Ballarat University of the Third Age and now makes pendants and rings, which she sells at the Ararat Visitors Information Centre. Her work is impressive and she particularly loves working with stones.

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Mujgan Kabakci

Mujgan arrived in Australia from Turkey when she was 11 years old, and her first helping role was to support her mother, who couldn’t speak any English. "I was like her mother and she was like my daughter."

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Uncle Murray Harrison

Uncle Murray Harrison

Uncle Murray knows that Bunjil (God) has been looking after him all his life because he has lived a full and rich life despite some significant challenges.

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Paulina Chong

Paulina Chong

After having had a corporate career in life insurance and once her children had grown up, Paulina Chong wanted to continue her self-development as she believes strongly in giving back to the community in a more meaningful way.

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Tom Rilen

Tom taught all his working life, finishing his career as the principal of a special school for people with disabilities, which he describes as very rewarding. When he finished full-time work Tom took the plunge into community projects.

Read more about Tom