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News & Events
Pat views Braeside Park from the sidelines
October 11, 2017
Pat Clydesdale has had a bird’s eye view of OCAV’s Braeside Park, almost from its beginning. It was 42 years ago that her widowed mother, Elizabeth Fritzlaff, moved into the sparkling new Unit 2 just a few months after the village opened.
Pat visited her mother often in the two years she lived there before her death in 1977. In fact, it was a real family affair for Pat. Her mother moved in to Unit 2, followed by her aunt, Kate Evans into Unit 7 and another aunt, Mrs Parkes into Unit 3.
A few years later, Pat and her husband bought a house across the road from Braeside Park and so she has witnessed the steady growth of the village, which now has 34 homes, and 14 assisted living apartments.
Pat’s connection to the early days of Braeside Park, was ‘discovered’ by residents who are researching the history of the Berwick village in the lead up to OCAV’s 150th celebrations in 2019. Pat, 88, has fond memories of the village where her mother loved living. The new unit was a far cry from the nearby family home Elizabeth left, which still had an outside toilet and wash house.
“She moved into the unit and the toilet was inside and there was a washing machine, not like the copper Mum used to do her washing in,” Pat said. And the washing facilities were important to Elizabeth who had worked for 40 years as a laundress at a range of places including the Berwick Hospital. For many years she washed the mud soaked jumpers every week for the Berwick Football Club, a task that earned her Life Membership of the club in 1953.
Pat said her mother loved living at Braeside Park because she was surrounded by people she knew and she also made some new friends. Today’s residents would no doubt concur with Elizabeth’s assessment of the village – warm and friendly.
“There weren’t many people there when Mum moved in, but she was social and soon got to know those who came after her. Some of the areas were still being built,” Pat said. Many of the services that characterised Braeside Park in the beginning have not changed. A staff member still walks around the village each morning to check that residents are okay.
Pat no longer has any relatives in the village, but has seen it develop over the decades. Having lived all her life in Berwick, she has also seen the district become a major growth area. As a child it was like a country town and her family, well known in the district, knew pretty much everyone. Times have changed.
“There are not many of the old locals left any more and things are very different. But I suppose you have to go with the flow,” she said.
Caption: Pat outside the Braeside Park unit her mother lived in decades ago.
Pete Zawacki drove to Leith Park twice a week to visit his mother, Helen, until her death a year ago. After she died he wanted to honour her memory and ‘repay’ the kindness staff showed her by volunteering.Read More