There’s No Place Like Home
When it comes time to downsize, choosing the right place to settle is important, and Merv Milliner, a resident of Keperra Sanctuary, has found a community that he can happily call home.
After becoming certified in electrical work, Merv walked into an interview with The Courier Mail and, thanks to his wit and charm, was hired that afternoon. He worked in the production division of The Courier Mail for 45 years, all throughout the digital revolution and integration of new technologies, and at the time of his retirement in 1992 was the longest-serving employee of The Courier Mail. His work was complex and intense, often involving long hours, and challenging work. If you are fortunate enough to speak with Merv about his work, something of which he is clearly passionate and knowledgeable, he will impress you with phrases such as “integrated circuits” and "core memory”, painting a detailed (if confusing) picture of his career. During his time with The Courier Mail, Merv was directly involved with the integration of digital technology and completely overhauling traditional systems for modern innovations. “It was a complete evolution. Everything was changing, but it wasn’t a sudden change. It was all very progressive,” he comments.
Having lived in The Gap region for his entire adult life, Merv has strong ties with the greater-Brisbane community and knew that he wanted to retire somewhere local, in a community that reflected his own values. In the picturesque, forest-fringed Keperra Sanctuary, Merv enjoys the independence and freedom he desires, as well as the support to pursue things he enjoys most. “It’s very much our own community. The staff are there to help us, but they don’t intervene in our daily activities,” he explains.
Since transitioning to life in Keperra Sanctuary a few years ago, Merv has settled into a routine that suits his lifestyle. He wakes at 5.30am every morning and spends his days socialising with friends in the community, spending time with friends and family who live in the area, and of course, playing bowls on the green. For Merv, his days have a familiar pattern of activities he most enjoys yet he finds he is never bored. Whether it’s enjoying the company of friends at monthly dinner events, knocking back a drink or two at Friday happy hour, engaging with other residents in the Men’s Club, or an occasional trip to a Broncos game at Suncorp, Merv leads an active and fulfilling social life. “There’s always something to do, every single day! The Residents Committee and Social Activities Committee make sure of that, and do an amazing job.”
Merv’s family history with Keperra Sanctuary is extensive and unique, with his Aunt Thelma being the first resident of Keperra Sanctuary in 1992, and in later years the first resident of the newly opened Hostel. This family dynasty has been compounded upon more recently, as Merv has been joined in the Village by two of his cousins, Glen Milliner and Janne Roberts. Glen comments that his relationship with Merv has changed significantly since recently moving into the village and that after 63 years they have become reacquainted and struck up a good friendship. Glen also says that, while he is new to the community, he is looking forward to taking up bowls with Merv and participating in the wide range of social activities hosted in the village (particularly the famed resident dinners). At the end of the day, however, it’s being with family that matters most to Glenn. “It’s a bit of a family thing. We’re all just happy to enjoy each other’s company.”
More than any of the events or perks of retirement living, Merv most enjoys the friendships he has made with his neighbours and having time with family. When asked about his favourite drink to enjoy at happy hour, Merv can’t help but respond cheekily, “Conversation. There’s nothing quite like it!”