FASHIONABLE MAYOR IS LOOKING THE PART
RURAL City of Wangaratta mayor Ken Clarke will take part in a Blokes from the Bush fashion parade on Tuesday, October 9, as part of a two day conference at the St Kilda Town Hall aimed at challenging ageism and building respect for older people.
And he may also lose his signature moustache.
FEW people make their catwalk debut at the age of 82, but Rural City of Wangaratta mayor Ken Clarke is set to do just that on October 9.
Cr Clarke has been enticed to take part in the two day Embolden conference/festival at St Kilda Town Hall, which will involve him hitting the runway in the Blokes from the Bush fashion parade.
The parade aims to pay tribute to the flannelette shirt, and encourage participants to think about the attitudes that not only carry them through an ageist world and through tough times.
A series of photographs and a short movie will be produced from the Bush Blokes Runway, and shared on social media to reach older farmers who are experiencing difficulties related to drought.
Cr Clarke, who has been the city’s mayor since 2016, in his sec- ond time on council after a stint in the 1980s, said he had encountered ageist attitudes as a community leader aged in his 80s.
“People think you get to retirement age and you’re not capable of doing things – that is a problem,” he said.
In spite of this, Cr Clarke said it was important for older people to remain involved in their communities.
“I think we can encourage them to get involved, through our men’s sheds, our senior citizens clubs, and for those on the land, to ensure they don’t spend all their time alone, but get out and enjoy themselves,” he said.
“Events like dances, which they would have enjoyed when they were younger, are still held locally, and there is always something going on.
“I saw something recently talking about loneliness in older people, and the fact that people don’t consider the importance of connections, and older people having people calling on them and calling in.
“I see it quite often that people in their 70s, and even younger, retire from employment and lose connections.
“I went back to local government because I was looking for something to occupy me, and I really enjoy it.”
In fact, in promotion for Embolden, Cr Clarke said “come 2020, I will need to think long and hard as to whether I stand again”.
“But if my health is still okay, look out, you younger ones,” he said.