• Garth reflects on 40 years of service

    Garth reflects on 40 years of service

    This year, Resthaven Westbourne Park Housekeeping Services Assistant, Garth Rowe, celebrates 40 years of service with Resthaven Westbourne Park. He shares his reflections with us.

    Garth says, ‘I was studying at music school, and one of my friends, who was also studying there, told me there were some evening shifts going at Resthaven. So I rang up and organised an interview.’

    From there, it was ‘fairly straightforward; I just needed to sign the forms and turn up for a shift, and was trained on the job.’

    Garth was employed from November 1981 on the kitchen team, running the 5-7pm meal shift: ‘I would come in at 5pm and set the tables, and be ready to serve meals in the communal dining room (now the recreation hall).’

    ‘There were four rows of five tables, and we had at least four staff on, serving one row each. We needed to be ready to provide table service at 5.30pm.’

    Garth commented that resident’s food choices ‘have now become more reflective of our multicultural society.’

    ‘There are more Italian, Asian, Southern Asian and Middle Eastern style dishes now – while some of the more traditional British foods are gone; for example, there used to be a sweet called ‘spotted dick’, which we served with custard. That hasn’t been on the menu for 20 or so years.’

    Around 25 years ago, Garth’s role expanded to include kitchen duties, and he added a 12-5pm shift for kitchen preparation. This includes general kitchen work, preparation of cold foods, and ‘finishing off’ the hot foods for the evening meals.

    A talented and classically trained musician, Garth was able to make good use of his off-work time.

    Music making is a big part of Garth’s life, starting with his studies at the Flinders Street School of Music, where he trained with several notable local musicians. He is now a recorder player trained in historical performance of early to modern music. ‘That includes music from the medieval, to the 21st century, in all aspects of the instrument,’ he explains.

    ‘I’ve performed in various ensembles, some theatre productions, and directed music in some theatre.’

    ‘I’m currently working with “Musick for Severall Friends”, which is the period spelling. They do music from around about 1600 AD.

    ‘Other ensembles I work with are “Lyrebyrd”, focussing on music from 1300-1600 AD, and a newly formed trio, “Trio Old and New”, which performs music from many different times and places.

    Garth regards his role in aged care as ‘good work; it’s work that needs some commitment.’

    ‘I try to do the best I can, and so I put those two things together and applied that to aged care.’

    The residents and staff of Resthaven Westbourne Park also play an important part. ‘Over the years, I’ve established and, sadly, then lost, quite a few friendly relations with different residents. I’ve met a wide range of all kinds of people and learnt much in this work, especially to take people, and things, as they are.

    ‘I recognise the excellent work of all the staff, who have kept me working at Resthaven Westbourne Park, and give them a big thank you.’

    ‘And of course, I give a warm hello and best wishes to all the residents at Westbourne Park.’

    Now nearing retirement age, Garth is ‘thinking of just cutting back a little bit in the immediate future, and just take it as it comes after that.’

    ‘I’d like to continue for a little while longer at Resthaven, but it is almost time to say “bye bye”.’

    ‘I’ve often thought that one day I’d be at work giving someone a cup of tea, and the next day I’d just wake up in Resthaven and someone would be bringing me one!’

    ‘I think I’d like to have a little break before that happens.’

    Thank you Garth, for your long and dedicated service to the residents and staff of Resthaven Westbourne Park.