It was more mild than wild but the West came to Weary Dunlop retirement village as residents and staff celebrated its fourth birthday in August.
Hay bales, cowboy hats and leather boots filled the village centre as residents enjoyed a mouth-watering barbecue lunch before being entertained by staff member Jenny and her boot scooting line-dancing troop.
“We had traditional western food and the chef just did an amazing job,” said Weary Dunlop lifestyle team member Deidre Forrester. “It was absolutely delicious.”
Residents threw themselves into the day’s theme, going to great lengths to ensure they looked the part.
“There were prizes for the best dressed, and the residents certainly made it difficult did pick the winners,” assistant manager and competition judge Rebecca Hall said. “They looked amazing.”
The village was officially opened by Weary Dunlop’s son, John, at a glitzy ceremony on August 22, 2014. The opening marked Ryman Healthcare’s arrival in Australia, after operating retirement villages in New Zealand for 30 years.
Ryman’s second village in Australia, Nellie Melba in Brandon Park, welcomed it first residents in August.
“The fourth birthday is so important for our residents because most of them moved in exactly four years ago,” Deidre said.
“We had a display of photographs and videos of the construction of the village, which they thoroughly enjoyed – it just brought back so many memories for them.
“I could see the pride on the residents’ faces: it’s their home and they’re proud to be here for four years.”
Village manager Kym Faulkner praised a fantastic team effort from village staff to make the day a success.
The fact so many residents attended the birthday bash reflected the pride they had in their village community, she said.
“And to see so many of them dressing up and getting into the spirit of the day was just wonderful.
“It’s a special place so it’s great to stop and celebrate important milestones like these.”