As part of the HMAS Cairns Aged Care Program, four Navy personnel visited a variety of Returned and Services League (RSL) of Australia aged care facilities last month to engage with the community and share in the spirit of ANZAC commemorations.
The special visits made to Warhaven and Farnorha Retirement Community were greatly appreciated by both the Navy members and residents involved.
As the Farnorha visit coincided with Easter celebrations, Navy personnel joined in the fun and helped the ladies prepare their bonnets for the Sunday Easter Parade.
Farnorha Retirement Community prides itself on having a vibrant culturally and linguistically diverse population which provided the visiting representatives from Cairns with a unique opportunity to engage with residents from a range of different backgrounds and lifestyles. During morning tea, Cairns sailors mingled and shared stories about life in the military along with hearing stories about times long past.
Poems, photographs, medals and assorted war souvenirs were proudly passed around while the residents talked about how mateship and the will to fight and win at sea drew them together.
The visit to Warhaven provided the same special experience with one particular memorable resident leaving a lasting impression on the young Navy sailors. Given the nickname 'Lofty' for his stature and impressive height, one resident embraced the opportunity to share his own harrowing Naval memories.
“We were in the harbour and depth chargers were firing right past us,” said Lofty as he recalled the time when a Japanese midget submarine attacked Sydney Harbour in May 1942.
Although he stands at well over six feet tall, it was the personal recollection of his own Navy service that left Cairns sailors in awe of Warhaven resident Lofty.
Cairns personnel were grateful for the unforgettable experience and thanked both the staff and residents for an enjoyable and informative day.
Cairns members are proud to actively engage with the North Queensland community every month embracing the Aged Care Visit Program and the mutual benefits it provides to both residents and Defence members alike.