Published Monday 10 February 2020
It’s around 7:30am, the sun has risen, and you can already feel it’s going to be a warm summer day. This brings a smile to 89-year-old Pat O’Shea. Each morning Pat puts on his bright red Hawaiian shirt with frangipanis on it and rides his bicycle around Chermside’s parks.
“The shirt was a hand-me-down from my son. It’s perfect for bike riding, as it catches the breeze, so I don’t get too hot,” says Pat.
Pat has been a resident at Wesley Mission Queensland’s Wheller on the Park Retirement Community since April 2019. Quite often staff who are on their way to work see Pat in his bright red Hawaiian shirt riding his bike. “He’s hard to miss with that Hawaiian shirt on,” one staff member says.
Pat’s bicycle has led him down more paths than one. Originally from Dubbo NSW, Pat moved to Brisbane to continue teaching economics, geography and history. Since retiring in 1995, he has stayed busy by getting involved in the Chermside and District Historical Society, and 20 years on is still a key member in the society.
It all started when Pat was on his usual bike ride in 1999, where he would ride through the Marchant Park gates in Chermside. These gates were built after World War I as a memorial for the diggers who enlisted. Pat noticed that something wasn’t quite right with the memorial.
“I couldn’t put my finger on it. One day I finally got off my bike and has a good look and found that the names on one of the plaques weren’t in alphabetical order, like the other ones were.”
After contacting people in the community, Pat found his way to the Chermside and District Historical Society. Part of Pat’s first project of being a part of the society was to fix the plaque, which he did.
“The historical society provided me with enough work to keep me busy for the rest of my life and more. I can’t quite keep up with the young one’s anymore, but it’s the bike riding that has also lifted me up.”
Since moving to Wheller on the Park (WOTP) retirement living community in 2019, Pat has continued to stay busy, with not only the work from the society, but his involvement in WOTP’s resident-led groups, including the Writers Group, Reading Group and is now trying out for the Men’s Choir.
“I joined the Writers Group when I moved here. That’s where you are given a topic during a meeting, then you go away and write an essay on it. This suits me wonderfully well. I love writing, I’ve written several books on local history.
“The last topic we had in our Writers Group was on Friendships in our Twilight years. I worked on the story and part of it was about my bike. I talked about how my bike was a friendship and how it takes me wherever I want to go, it never complains, it keeps me on the right track and it stands quietly while I take photographs of the trees,” says Pat.
If you would like to be part of the vibrant Wheller on the Park Retirement Community. Call today to request a brochure or take a tour. Find out more on our webpage.