Australia’s Oldest Man Knits Tiny Sweaters For The “Knit for Nature” Program!
Following an oil spill near Philip Island Nature Park off the coast of Australia, the oldest man in Australia, Alfred “Alfie” Date, decided to do his part. Being a prolific knitter, he and some friends have been knitting hundreds of tiny sweaters for the Knits for Nature program.
Alfie, who was born in London, England, in 1905, started knitting for the penguins shortly after moving to a retirement home in southwest Australia. They’re two of the nurses learnt about his hobby and approached him to see if he would be willing to work with the Knits for Nature program.
“The two girls (nurses) come in to me and say ‘We believe you can knit.'”
It was about 80 years ago when the great-great-grandfather’s sister-in-law handed him a pair of knitting needles and some wool for the first time.
“She said knit me a jumper,” Alfred recalled. “And that was my first effort — a jumper for the boy.”
That boy was Alfred’s nephew, born around 1931, and now “old enough to be your grandfather,” Alfred said.
The knitted sweaters help minimize the oil the penguins ingest while preening. Hundreds of sweaters later, Date and his friends have been so successful in their endeavors that the penguin center no longer need any more sweaters!
Alfred has passed his craft down through three more generations and still knits scarfs for friends and little beanies for premature babies, despite his centenarian hands losing some of their dexterity.
“I like to make it without mistakes and I don’t excuse myself for doing it,” he said. “(But) I think there is an excuse for a person who’s gone beyond the normal span of life.”
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