If there’s like-minded people like me that want to venture and explore more of the outdoors, I thought we could try that… I love a challenge, and I like to share the experience with others.”

– Alice, 2024

It’s been 9 years since Alice had to finish work, due to a combination of workplace changes and a personal injury. “I was forced into retirement, and it was really, really hard.” This transition prompted Alice to move from Sydney to Perth, to be closer to family. After arriving, Alice lived with her daughter for a period, before moving into her own place in Brabham. 


When I first came here, I thought, I have to venture, find out what’s around me… It’s no good being alone in your house…I need life.” 


Discovering a local outdoor fitness group was a positive early step towards local community connection. “I joined an outdoor fitness group for the first time when I was 69, and I really got into it! I’d go 2-3 times a week, I absolutely loved it, being outdoors, the social side, meeting people from all walks of life and all abilities… Plus I love a challenge!”


Unfortunately, things shifted. “The group moved to Yokine and that broke my heart. It was just too far to go several times a week…too much travelling. I looked for other options locally and there was nothing.” Alice attended some council-run active ageing events, but these were a bit repetitive for her liking. Then, all activities were further disrupted by the pandemic.


One day, walking around her neighbourhood, Alice happened upon Befriend’s ‘Give-it-a-Go’ hobby series being run from the Brabham Pavilion. “There were lots of nice people, everyone was very friendly, saying come and join us.” Alice saw lots of others enjoying various social games and activities, but being such an active person, she longed for something that was more physically active.


Through conversation with Ally, her local Community Builder, Alice learned of a walking group that met at Whiteman Park. Alice started going along to these walks.


I have a girlfriend who I walk with every Wednesday and Thursday. We’ve been walking together for 8 or 9 years. We’ve walked all over Perth, all the lakes, hill trails, national parks… I get bored with repetition, I like to keep mixing things up.”


The Whiteman Park walking group became a context where Alice began to share some of her enthusiasm for nature walking with others. “First I suggested we change the direction of the walk from the regular clockwise route. Then I said there are two other trails here we could explore too. 


I love nature. That’s my passion. You can just stop for a moment, take in the beauty.” Alice attributes her passion to her early years growing up on a farm in New Zealand. “I’m a country girl, I was brought up on a dairy farm, we had 120 cows… We used to milk cows before school!”

Alice and Community Builder Ally

As Alice became increasingly more comfortable with the Whiteman Park walking group, and wanted to take things further, she decided she’d take up the challenge of becoming a Host of the ‘Swan Mindful Walkers’ group. “If there’s like-minded people like me that want to venture and explore more of the outdoors, I thought we could try that… I love a challenge, and I like to share the experience with others.”


For Alice, it’s not just about her passion for nature walks, it’s also about her love of connecting with people. “I don’t think about myself much – I think about others. I think my gifts are that I’m compassionate, I’m very giving. I love sharing, and I love listening, listening intently – that’s a skill that I really embrace.” These are skills that Alice has honed through years of personal and career experiences supporting people from different ages, backgrounds and abilities, and it is a joy to find new ways of sharing these with others.

These social walking groups are an important context for Alice to live in ways that are healthy and connected. “It took a while to accept this is a later phase of my life. But I feel very blessed.” It’s important to Alice that these contexts are available for seniors as we age. “A lot of things are set up for younger people, but as you get into your 70s, there’s not a lot… and it has to be accessible, with a friendly atmosphere.


Older people can offer so much from their past life, their skills, their knowledge… it can really help the communityMy skills, my knowledge, I like to share it, if it can be helpful.”

With deep and heartfelt thanks to Alice for sharing her story with us