It was in 1969 when members of the German community gathered to put a spade into the ground at a little known property in Boronia, which today is one of Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs.
Half a century on and Martin Luther Homes is an award-winning aged care provider that offers a variety of age services and is home to almost 200 people.
To celebrate the big anniversary, staff and residents got together to plan a fest that was organised around a live entertainment show that was one of a kind. Residents from the retirement village, as well as the aged care centre, got together to perform sketches, songs, poems, and even "Schwabenstreiche", which requires a very German-specific sense of humour.
Earlier in the day, the new Myrtle Wing was officially opened by many dignitaries, including past and present board members. The two German Pastors Christoph Dielmann and Peter Demuth blessed our residents and staff. As a powerful symbol, a myrtle tree was planted in the new gardens that now connect the old and the new.
An absolute draw-card early in the day was a panel talk on the History of Martin Luther Homes. There was a vivid exchange of names and memories between our four panel guests and the audience. And although it has been five decades, some still remember the day like it was yesterday.
The sun was out all day, the festival tent packed to the rafters, and the food stalls and cake bazaar busy for hours. Simply a perfect setting for wonderful catch-ups and talks for people who have not seen each other in years.
However, in spite of all the good conversations, the sensational weather, and the yummy food, the absolute highlight was the live performance by our residents. After more than three months of rehearsing, the show has taken on a life of its own and there was something in it for everyone.
On the big stage, poems were recited, songs sung, and sketches performed. And in the end, everyone had a great day, many laughs, and perhaps even made some new friends.
We would like to thank all our residents, volunteers, and everyone else who has helped us to make Martin Luther Homes' 50th Anniversary a success.
Thank You - Dankeschön!
If you understand German and you want to find out more, simply listen to a comprehensive radio report by SBS German.
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