Ian’s recipe for a life without loneliness

Retired stationmaster Ian Morris loved his working life on the railways, yet since leaving his job he has barely been on a train. Now in his mid-80s, Ian is enjoying a more creative journey through painting and drawing. He spends two mornings a week at the Brotherhood’s Banksia Social Connection Hub in Carrum Downs, in southeast Melbourne.

Above: Ian has attended our Social Connection Hub in Carrum Downs for four years.

Ian cherishes every moment with a brush, canvas and music. “Sometimes I paint six paintings a day, and keep correcting what I do over the next few days. Other times I just do one a day,” he explains. “I always paint both sides of the paper because I’m stingy,” he laughs. He enjoys the social aspects of Banksia. “It’s something to get up for in the morning,” he says.

“If I didn’t come here, I probably wouldn’t be here. Loneliness is a killer, you know,” he admits. “I’m a butterfly really, I like to see people.”

Ian took up painting after his wife died. “My wife was a painter. She left half a dozen unfinished works and I finished them off,” he says. He nurtured his talent through lessons at the U3A (University of the Third Age) and spending time with other artists around the Mornington Peninsula. Over the years, Ian has developed a unique approach to painting. He explains that listening to music as he paints guides him, “Every colour is a musical note, and when I hear the notes I paint that colour.”

“I have been coming here twice a week for about four years. I also spent some time in respite at Banksia Frankston when I was sick. It’s a wonderful thing. You don’t feel old, you just feel normal, but, of course, I am old.”

Like other people attending Banksia, Ian eats a two-course lunch and joins in other group activities. “Coming here lets me be more social and I meet all sorts of people. I am blessed really,” he says.

Find out more about Brotherhood of St Laurence Aged Care services.