Harmonious Generosity: Del and Basil Wood’s Gift of Music to Carinity Wishart Gardens

Locals Del and Basil Wood have made a significant contribution to the Carinity Wishart Gardens seniors community. The couple, deeply intertwined with the fabric of this aged care community, recently donated a piano and organ, adding a melodious touch to the lives of residents at the aged care facility.

Del’s mother, Mabel Grace, was among the first residents of Carinity Wishart Gardens and Del herself has been a dedicated volunteer there for years. Basil, a former chemist, had a pharmacy that supplied medication to aged care communities. 

Their long-standing association with this community took a significant turn when they moved into the adjacent Wishart Gardens retirement village after waiting for more than 15 years. 

Before relocating to the retirement village, the Woods had already known approximately 15 people who resided there, including their long-time friend, Jean Miller. Del and Jean’s friendship spans over half a century, and they once formed part of a Christian vocal trio called Celebration, which performed over 300 shows at aged care homes, retirement villages, and prisons.

Even today, they continue to share their musical talents at chapel services in Wishart, with Del playing the organ and Jean accompanying her on the piano—two instruments generously donated to the Wishart Gardens aged care community by the Woods.

Carinity Wishart Gardens - Basil and Del Wood
Photo Credit: Carinity Wishart Gardens

As part of their downsizing efforts in preparation for their move to a retirement villa, Del and Basil decided to part with their beloved Kawai grand piano and the American-made Gulbransen Rialto organ. Basil noted that this particular organ is rare in Australia. The suggestion to donate these instruments to the aged care home came from someone who believed that others could also enjoy and make use of them.

Now, these keyboards have found a new home in the Wishart Gardens aged care pavilion, where Del plays hymns during the weekly chapel services.

Solomon Shekede, the Residential Manager at Carinity Wishart Gardens, expressed his deep gratitude for the donated organ and piano. He praised the Woods’ “commitment to fostering the arts and enhancing the worship experience” for the residents. 

“This thoughtful contribution will resonate through the halls of Carinity Wishart Gardens, bringing joy and inspiration to all who gather here. The piano and organ will serve as a constant reminder of Basil and Del’s kindness and dedication to the spiritual well-being of our community,” Mr Shekede said.

Published 3-Jan-2024

Carinity Wishart Gardens Honours Latest Centenarian

A multi-lingual florist has recently become Queensland’s newest centenarian. She celebrated her 100th birthday on 14 June 2022 at the Carinity Wishart Gardens aged care community.

Born Kuria Coola Flaskas on 14 June 1922 to parents Chrisoula and Nicholas Flaskas, Coola loved books and fashion magazines as a youngster. She would read one each night by torchlight under bed covers and at an early age showed a talent for styling.

She was just two years old when she and her mother moved from Greece to Australia due to political unrest. They reunited with Nicholas who had already emigrated and acquired two cafes in Queensland, one in Toogoolawah and another in Esk, Queensland.

Coola Velis pictured in her younger years (left) and Coola Velis at Carinity Wishart Gardens aged care community in Brisbane (right)
Coola Velis pictured in her younger years (left) and Coola Velis at Carinity Wishart Gardens aged care community in Brisbane (right) | Photo Credit: supplied

Coola would grow up to be a talented singer and pianist. She regularly performed in the town hall whilst working at the cafe at the same time. Brisbane Radio took notice of her talent and invited her to sing on the radio; she was in her mid-20s then.

She took over bookkeeping duties for their family business and also worked for the local Country  Women’s Association where she would later serve as its President. After her father passed away, she opened a florist business. Her venture became a success owing to her colour and design skills in fashion and fabric.

 Coola Flaskas and Basili Koutsouvelis on their wedding day in Brisbane in 1958 (left), Basil and Coola Koutsouvelis with their baby daughter, Avra, in the mid-1960s (right)
Coola Flaskas and Basili Koutsouvelis on their wedding day in Brisbane in 1958 (left), Basil and Coola Koutsouvelis with their baby daughter, Avra, in the mid-1960s (right) | Photo Credit: supplied

Coola married Basili Koutsouvelis in 1958 wearing a pale pink wedding gown (departing from the traditional white gown) she custom-made herself. She gave birth to her daughter Avra in 1964 and later worked in Coles supermarket’s meat department.

Her daughter said that Cools would often be given complimentary tickets by her friends who ran the nearby Majesty’s Theatre. 

“She would stay up very late, working out seating lists for friends and acquaintances who couldn’t normally afford to go. We were always  dressed exquisitely, and no one ever guessed she did it all on a shoestring  budget.”

Centenarian Coola Velis with fellow Carinity Wishart Gardens resident Bessie Conomos (age, 101) who was also born on the small Greek island of Kythera
Coola Velis with fellow Carinity Wishart Gardens resident Bessie Conomos (age, 101) who was also born on the small Greek island of Kythera | Photo Credit: supplied

Coola taught Modern Greek at an international language school. She was in her 60s when she enrolled at Griffith University to learn Japanese. And when she was in her 70s, decided to fly back to Greece after six decades.

A proud “unofficial historian” on Brisbane Greeks, the centenarian was also an avid gardener until she was in her 90s.

She now just enjoys creating online content with her daughter which has so far generated 18,000 views on social media.

“The videos are about living, spreading love, and accepting ourselves and each other just the way we are,” Avra said. 

“Whenever I ask my Mum what she thinks is the reason she’s made it to 100 she says: ‘Because I love you  Avra, and you love me. If I didn’t have you, I wouldn’t live a day’.”

Film Buff Becomes Newest Centenarian at Carinity Wishart Gardens

Meet Joycelyn Munro, a film buff who once worked at cinemas in her youth. On 31 March 2022, she turned 100 and became the newest member of the Carinity 100 Club at Carinity Wishart Gardens.  

Born in West End to parents Diana and Percy Garrick, Joycelyn Munro sang in the choir, along with her sisters Ruby and Audrey, at West End Methodist Church where the family regularly attended services and activities. 

Joycelyn enjoyed Scottish dancing, photography, knitting, crocheting, learning the Esperanto language, going out for coffee, and completing a history of her father’s side of the family. But if there is one activity that she loved the most doing, that would be going to the movies.

Joycelyn Munro loved going to movies right up to when she moved to Carinity Wishart Gardens
Joycelyn Munro loved going to movies right up to when she moved to Carinity Wishart Gardens
Photo Credit: Aged Care Online

“She loved going to movies right up to when she moved to Carinity Wishart Gardens,” said Joycelyn’s daughter, Elsa Green, who described her as “a marvellous role model for the family.”

Joycelyn loved movies and knew all the actors’ names, but she particularly liked American film actor Randolph Scott. She helped at two Garricks Entertainment cinemas in West End, the Rialto Picture Theatre and Lyric Picture Palace, which also happened to be owned and operated by her grandfather. 

Joycelyn celebrated her 100th birthday at Carinity Wishart Gardens
Joycelyn has been looking forward to her 100th birthday since moving into Wishart Gardens 10 years ago
Photo Credit: Carinity / Facebook

Joycelyn recalls that she and her sisters would walk to the Lyric theatre from their home to work as ticket sellers or usherettes for evening and Saturday matinee shows.

A boy, she said, would transport the film spools between Lyric and Rialto by bicycle as these theatres share the films for their two-movie program. 

After a four-year engagement, Joycelyn and Navy officer Ken Munro married in January 1945. That’s two months earlier than what they originally planned due to Ken’s leave having been changed at the last minute.

The couple was blessed with three children, six grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren, with the eldest being 17 years old and the youngest, two years old.

Her daughter Elsa said that her mum has been looking forward to her 100th birthday since moving into Wishart Gardens 10 years ago.

“Mum led a full life and had many friends, she valued family life and always loved family gatherings,” Elsa said.

“Like any centenarian, she has witnessed tremendous changes in the world but through all these changes our mum has remained the same kind, loving, generous, hospitable and generally thoughtful person to everyone.”

Joycelyn celebrated her 100th birthday at Carinity Wishart Gardens attended by friends and family members including her daughter Diana, who is now based in New Zealand. A specially arranged Scottish piper played at her birthday celebration.

Wishart Travel Buff Joins Exclusive 100 Club

At 100 years old, one could say that Dorothy Sharrock has been living her life to the fullest, travelling across Australia and overseas, including a once-in-a-lifetime visit to Antarctica.

The newest member of the exclusive centenarian club within the Carinity Wishart Gardens celebrated her birthday on 1 July. Turning 100 years old has been another milestone in Dot’s life of adventure.

Born in Hughenden in north-west Queensland, Dot loved playing basketball and vigoro as an active child and was a member of the Salvation Army youth group in her community. Working since she was 14 years old, Dot moved to Brisbane in her young adult years and worked at the Brisbane Girls Grammar School for 25 years. Older students of the Spring Hill school will likely remember Dot as she also lived inside the campus.

When Dot retired in her mid-60s, she spent her time travelling around the country and also visited New Zealand, China and Japan. She also spent an unforgettable day flight over Antarctica. 

Now a resident of the Carinity Wishart Gardens since 2014, Dot still keeps active by playing indoor bowls. She also enjoys watching games of cricket and tennis on television. During her downtimes, Dot loves sewing, crafting, reading a good book, painting her nails or lounging in the garden where she listens to the native birds sing.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Her nephew Rod Schafferius said that longevity runs in the genes as Dot’s four other sisters ar, between the ages of 88 to 97, are still alive. Rod said that her aunts embrace “a strong constitution, a healthy diet and everything in moderation.”

Dot has been the second person to celebrate her 100th birthday at the Carinity Wishart Gardens after Bessie Conomos OAM in April.

Bessie Conomos OAM: Beloved Community Worker Turns 100

Bessie Conomos OAM, a resident of Carinity Wishart Gardens who was previously recognised in the Australia Day Honours List for her volunteer work, celebrated her 100th birthday on the 20th of April 2021.

Bessie, born Vasilike Gianniois, hails from Kythira, Greece. She’d moved to Australia at the age of seven with her family, living in rural New South Wales where she met her husband, Theo Megaloconomos. The two raised four children together, moving from city to city. 

Throughout her life, Bessie would volunteer for numerous organisations and operations such as Meals on Wheels, or the St Nicholas aged care home in Highgate Hill. Her cooking helped raise funds for numerous charities, and she’d remained a consistent and helpful member of whatever community she’d found herself in.

When Bessie was 87, her services to the Greek community in Brisbane were recognised by the Australian Government, and she was awarded with a Medal of the Order of Australia. The award was also given in part to her contributions to the Carinda community as an active member of the Country Women’s Association and the Bush Nursing Association. 

In 2021, five years after moving into Carinity Wishart Gardens in 2016, Bessie Conomos officially joined the Carinity 100 club. To this day, she remains a resident of the aged care community and spends her days relaxing and receiving visits from her family.

25 Years Young: Carinity Wishart Gardens Celebrates with Tea and Cake

Residents of the Carinity Wishart Gardens celebrated the retirement home’s 25th anniversary in March 2021 with tea, cake, and a few special guests.

Wishart, one of five Carinity-owned retirement communities in Queensland, recently hosted two separate morning tea parties at the Carinity Wishart Gardens community pavilion in order to accommodate all the participants to its 25th anniversary bash. 

Throughout the festivities, numerous special events were held, such as celebratory cake cutting to commemorate the establishment’s 25-year milestone, or a special video presentation about the history of the Wishart area as well as the retirement village. Those who attended were given cupcakes and gift packs. 

Carinity has supported elderly people in Australia for over 70 years by providing them with a home and a community to belong to. Wishart Gardens in particular is home to around 80 residents between the ages of 70 and 100. 

Carinity Wishart Gardens can be found at 15 Glasford St, Wishart. For more information visit their website here. Follow Carinity’s social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates and announcements.