Long lives well lived, a wealth of wisdom accumulated over the years…There is much we can learn from our elders and so many stories waiting to be heard. Mirror journalist Wendy Williamson meets a resident of Prom View Lodge at Toora, Colin (Mick) Platt.
A framed display of life membership medals for three different Welshpool sporting clubs – football, cricket and golf – bears witness to the sporting prowess of Mick Platt. Such all-round sporting ability and involvement is a rare distinction, but Mick is modest about the achievement.
“He also used to play basketball, badminton and tennis. He played every sport imaginable,” proudly declares Mick’s wife Edie.
Now, however, since a stroke five years ago, Mick must content himself with watching sport on the TV in his room at Prom View Lodge, where he has lived for the past four and a half years. The stroke occurred, ironically, on the golf course.
Mick was born in Yarram 77 years ago. His mother was a Dessent, a well-known name in the Foster district. He went to school at a one-teacher school at Staceys Bridge, riding his bike the two or three miles to school. His father and grandfather were share farmers and Mick would help them milk by hand. While he was still young, his father went to share farm for Arthur Sutherland at Welshpool. After the move, Mick attended high school at Foster.
Was he a good student?
“I don’t know about that!”
He was certainly busy, milking cows before he caught the bus to school in Foster and then again every evening on his return.
Mick left school at 14 to work at Sutherland’s Butcher Shop in Welshpool’s main street, and there he stayed for the next 41 years. His father, Frank, was a slaughterman for the butcher shop and Mick would go down to the slaughter yards and collect the carcasses.
There were, when he first started working, many more shops in Welshpool than there are today.
“There was Albert Baker the barber, for instance, and there was a blacksmith. That was Les Kerr. He’s the bloke who taught me to swear!”
In 1960 Mick married Edie Hibbs, who had grown up in Yarram. They met at a sporting function – of course! They went on to have four sons, three of whom still live in the Welshpool district, with one in Melbourne, and they now have four grandchildren.
After finishing at the butcher shop at the age of about 56, Mick got a job making beef jerky at Fish Creek for 18 months. Then he milked cows with a mate of a morning. That meant rising early in the morning before the flies, but he didn‘t mind.
Country life has suited him. He considers Melbourne far too much of a rat race. Whenever he visited the city he was always keen to get home. Besides, living in the country has given him wonderful opportunities to play sport and he considers he has led a full life.
Mick worked his way through every position on the footy field, starting at forward and finishing at fullback. He also worked behind the scenes on the social committee, as he did with the Welshpool Cricket Club. In cricket his forte was wicket keeping, but he was a handy player anywhere and captained a premiership team. When he eventually finished with footy and cricket he took up golf. That was 25 years ago, and he played keenly for the next 20 years.
He is delighted to have passed on his love of sport and some of his extraordinary talent to his sons and grandchildren. The Platt name is well respected in local sporting circles.
Now he is in Prom View Lodge Mick likes nothing better than watching footy on TV, especially his beloved Bombers, whose team photo has pride of place on the wall of his room. He reckons the staff are nice and look after him well, and Edie lives close by and can visit often.