Lorraine Bedella has a senior citizens centre named after her in Altona North and has received just about every honour for community service one could imagine. The walls of her Brooklyn home are running out of space for framed family photos alongside her numerous awards. She speaks with Goya Dmytryshchak.
What’s your connection to Hobsons Bay?
When I got married, I bought a block of land and I’m still here. I’ve been here since 1955; it’s 62 years in October.
What do you love about Brooklyn?
I’ve just been here so long I don’t want to move. I came here with no children and reared four daughters and now they’re all married with their families.
What would you change about Brooklyn?
I’d change the way the estate agents treat you. They sent me a letter, said they were told I have an investment property in Brooklyn. And it’s my home. So, I rang them up and I said, who told you? And they said, we got told. And I said, well, it’s a lie. This is my home and I’m not moving and I’m not dead.
What are you passionate about, aside from your beloved Western Bulldogs?
Community services and my knitting. I knit for charity. Just two weeks ago, I gave away 30 jumpers. My mother taught me to knit when I was 10. I’ve knitted for Chernobyl, then one year I knitted 80 for the Royal Children’s Hospital. My sister’s got a friend who’s got an orphanage in Delhi and she was looking for clothes for them; I gave them 50. They did a story a couple of years ago and they worked it out that I’ve knitted 150,000 jumpers.
Can you tell me about the Lorraine Bedella Senior Citizens Centre?
It’s a multicultural centre and it’s all groups that they have in their own language. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the Greeks. Tuesday morning, Polish. Monday and Wednesday afternoon it’s Italian ladies who play bingo. Italian men come and play cards every day. Thursday is Macedonian in one room, tai chi and indoor bowls in the other room.
Do you have a favourite cafe or restaurant?
Sometimes we go to Millers Inn.