Australia’s Oldest Man Likes To Knit For Penguins

The Penguin Post has learned that Australia’s oldest man, Alfred “Alfie” Date has spent a lot of his days knitting sweaters for little penguins. The sweaters were requested from Victoria’s Phillip Island Penguin Foundation in 2013, to assist the survival of little penguins after an oil spill. Little penguins are a species of penguin only found in southern Australia and New Zealand, with a lone colony of 32,000 remaining on Phillip Island.  The sweaters are needed because the oiled penguins will lose much of their natural insulation until they recover.

penguinsThe 109-year-old, who lives in a retirement home on the New South Wales Central Coast, was asked by two nurses to help make the sweaters, as they had heard he was an experienced knitter. It was a request he could not refuse. Using heavy wool provided by the nurses, Alfie put his 80 years of knitting skills to good use and got to work.

The self-taught knitter, who refined his skills after making a baby jacket for his nephew in the 1930s, has seven children and 20 grandchildren, and “about the same amount” of great grandchildren.  Alfie remembers the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and the declaration of World War one. He told his secret to a long life is simply “waking up every morning.”

Donations of the knitted penguin outfits were received from all over the world. The foundation says this “is not a fashion statement” but instead they help the little creatures if they are affected by an oil spill. Oil can make their feathers stick together, allowing water to get to their inner layers. This causes the little penguins to get cold and not be able to hunt due to heaviness. When oiled penguins arrive at the foundation, they are given a jacket to wear so that they don’t consume the toxins or preen their feathers. In 2001, 438 penguins were affected in an oil spill at Phillip Island and by using the knitted outfits, 96% of the penguins were rehabilitated at the clinic, according to the foundation’s website.

The center currently has “plenty of penguin jumpers (sweaters) at this time donated by generous knitters across the globe” and has asked for no more donations from eager knitters. Today, Alfie keeps active by knitting scarves for friends and beanies for premature babies.

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “Australia’s Oldest Man Likes To Knit For Penguins”

  1. myhappylifeabroad Says:

    Reblogged this on myhappylifeabroad and commented:
    So cute!

  2. Woolly Penguins! | Spoons, Sailing, CRPS and Penguins Says:

    […] cute however there is a story behind why these penguins are dressed so casually.  Check out this blog on Penguin Place Post to find out more about these best dressed […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: