There’s always room in life for new experiences and they’re even better when shared with friends, family and others. So let’s do more together.
This year’s NSW Seniors Festival ambassadors are excited to share their wisdom and tips on how to eat well, stay active and connect with others through their own personal life experiences and inspirations.
Watch their videos here.
Meet the Ambassadors
Robina Beard OAM
As Madge the manicurist Robina’s unforgettable delivery of the famous line ‘you’re soaking in it’ from the Palmolive dishwashing liquid television commercial of the seventies etched her into our collective consciousness. It was just a glimpse of Robina’s many talents including acting, directing, dancing, choreography and teaching. Robina’s stage credits include performing her hit comedy skit The Dying Swan, at the Sydney Opera House and she has danced in the musical Chicago. She was most recently seen in ABC TV’s hit comedy, A Moody Christmas. Her work keeps Robina fit and fearless. As does her commitment to keeping both her body and mind agile by swimming, cooking, entertaining and doing crosswords and jigsaw puzzles. She lives in Wollongong. As a grandmother of five, Robina’s grandchildren keep life interesting and bring her much joy.
Rev. Dorothy McRae-McMahon
Dorothy was originally a preschool teacher, and then spent 16 years at home caring for her children, including her son who has an intellectual disability. She has worked in international aid and community development for the NSW Ecumenical Council, as Minister of the Pitt Street Uniting Church in the City of Sydney and as National Director for Mission of the Uniting Church. She has considerable international experience in Asia, Africa and the Middle East and worked for the World Council of Churches in a variety of roles - including being the only woman in the world to chair its Assembly Worship Committee. She has written 10 books of liturgy.
Over the years she has participated in many movements for social and political change. In 1997, she publically came out as a lesbian and led a successful campaign to have homosexual ministers formally accepted within the Uniting Church
In retirement, Dorothy works voluntarily for the South Sydney Parish of the Uniting Church, co-edits the South Sydney Herald, writes regular liturgy for churches in six countries and continues to work for justice.
Kumar became a household name in Australia thanks to his impressive performance in the cooking juggernaut television series Masterchef in 2011. He impressed the judges and the public not only for his excellent cooking and flavour combinations but also with his calm and positive attitude under extreme pressure. Kumar trained as a graphic designer, then worked in education and now cooks for a living as well as pleasure. He also volunteers to teach disadvantaged and seniors with disability to prepare nutritious low cost meals. He always had a keen interest in food and is the author of Kumar’s Family Cookbook and a blog, both of which feature his own beautifully hand-drawn illustrations. In 2016 Kumar completed a set of beautifully illustrated all occasion cards depicting fruit, flowers and vegetables and feature quick and easy recipes. A second series is due for release this year.
Graham Ross VMM
Graham must have one of Australia’s greenest thumbs, as he’s been sharing his tips and passion for gardening for 50 years. His enthusiasm for all things gardening was infectious from the moment he started the Garden Clinic radio show on 2GB in 1980, to the time he attracted the attention of popular lifestyle program Better Homes and Gardens when it launched on Channel 7 in 1995. The Garden Clinic is now a family affair with Sandra, daughter Linda and son Kent all working together. They plan the radio program and their garden tours around the world as a team. Over the years Graham has been involved with several professional and industry associations including The Royal Botanic Garden Trust, The NSW and Australian Nursery & Garden Industry Associations. He is the founder and Chairman of the Australian Garden Council, which was launched by the Prime Minister in 2015. Graham is also consultant to the many Sydney flower and garden show projects.
Aunty Sandra Lee
Aunty Sandra is a Boorooberrongal, Darug Elder and Traditional Owner who was born in Blacktown and is passionate about preserving the heritage and culture of the Darug people for all Australians to share. She is Secretary of the Darug Tribal Aboriginal Corporation and the Darug Research and Information Centre, located at Seven Hills. She is also a University of Western Sydney Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement Advisory Board member and an Elder on Campus. A strong advocate of Indigenous rights, Aunty Sandra works with community and business groups to facilitate connections to the Aboriginal community. She is passionate about the future of Aboriginal young people, and provides advice to Government on cultural and clan protocols when placing Aboriginal children in foster care. She regularly visits Aboriginal inmates in Parklea gaol and believes it’s her responsibility as an Elder to share her people’s history.