Australia’s Oldest Man Knits Tiny Jumpers For Injured Penguins

When an oil spill disaster occurred, the Phillip Island Nature Park wildlife clinic was ready, equipped to deploy hundreds of tiny wool jumpers.

No, no, no… these jumpers were not for humans, but penguins. These jumpers had been knitted by a volunteer called Alfie Date, who at 109 years old is Australias oldest man.

Alfie said that he started knitting the ‘easy single-rib and double rib jumpers shortly after moving into a care home in southwest Australia.

Once he found out that he had a talent for knitting, two nurses knew about the Phillip Island Nature Park and approached him to gauge his interest to knit for the penguins.

“I’m a sucker. I can’t say no,” Alfie responded.

The Phillip Island’s had recently had an oil spill, and the clinic works at the Phillip Island Nature Park put the oil-covered birds in jumpers to try and minimise the amount of oil they could ingest whilst preening themselves.

The Philip Island Penguin Foundation said that ‘the substance also matts the penguin’s feathers, which both prevents it from regulating its temperature and reduces the animal’s buoyancy in water.’

Following a spill near Phillip Island, 483 little penguins ended up at the rehabilitation centre, with 96% of them ultimately being released back into the wild.

At this time, the centre does not need any more penguin sweaters, but with Alfie’s help, he managed to save many little penguins’ lives.

Written by Hannah Conway