Palm Lake Care Residents' Stories

Vyvyan finds time to reflect in peaceful surroundings.

Here I have found peace

If a face was a roadmap of life, Palm Lake Care Bargara resident Vyvyan Addison’s shows she’s been on quite the vast adventure. Her blue eyes smile as she recalls her early days, and her accent is testament to a life that began in wartime South Africa. While colourful and sometime poignant memories take this 90 year old back to the motherland in an instant, it’s the deep character lines on this woman’s face (her roadmap of life) that prove a rich family story lived on various continents – and still being written, here at Bargara.

Vyvyan is the kind of woman who commands attention. Yes, it’s in her defining accent, but it’s also in her compelling story telling. She was a child of World War II, met her future husband when she was 14 and was married by the time she hit 20. Many of her stories revolve around this man she called her own. Kenneth was that little bit older than she, and served in the war in Burma and India in the early part of their relationship. Kenneth was a pasture research officer and it was this role that would take the pair, and their family, across
the world.

Based on a research station in Southern Rhodesia for six years, it was the civil war and ongoing unrest in Africa that saw the pair seek out a more peaceful life in Australia. Kenneth was able to find work as the officer in charge of a pasture research station in Gayndah and it was here they would settle into Australian life. The family blossomed in Gayndah. Vyvyan’s blue eyes sparkle again when she tells you about her sons – boys who would grow up to become successful in their own right. Nigel somewhat followed in his father’s footsteps to work in agriculture for the Department of Primary Industries and Geoffrey became an industrial chemist. The boys provided Vyv with four grandchildren and five great grandchildren – nine blessings, as she’d say.

Gayndah would further prove an auspicious location, as the family would travel from there to the coast, to Bargara, for picnics and holidays. It was on one of those picnic drives, when they were looking simply for a place to pull up for a swim, that Kenneth and Vyv stumbled upon the perfect block of ground on the waterfront on Woongarra Scenic Drive, on the southside of Bargara’s main township. While they lived on many interesting research stations over Kenneth’s career on various continents, they never did own their own home. Until now. This block of land would go on to see 20 years’ worth of family memories built, in one of the most peaceful destinations of all – by the sea.

“I remember Kenneth saying he wanted a block of ground along the rocks – not on the sand – because he didn’t want all those dirty picnickers in his backyard!” Vyv laughs.

Over the 20 years she’d live on Woongarra Scenic Drive, Vyv watched Bargara develop from bush and canefields into a beautiful tourist township that the locals were proud to call home. While Kenneth was taken from Vyv in an untimely car accident more than a decade ago, and Nigel was also lost too early, the Addisons had found the peace here that they so desperately sought back in their earlier life together in South Africa. And Vyv says she has been blessed to continue to find peace at Palm Lake Care Bargara. She watched this aged caring community being built and there are now plenty of peaceful days for her here, spent tending to her beloved pot plants and producing fine wool strands on her spinning wheel.

While life can dish out its up and downs, they are all intersections in the road map of life. Vyv is grateful that all roads lead her to Palm Lake Care Bargara. For the peaceful days she has most definitely earned.

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