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Resident Story: Frank risks it for the biscuit

TriCare Aged Care Residences are wonderful, diverse communities, and everyone has a story to tell. It is a privilege for staff who get to hear from residents first-hand – in fact, the tales are so rich that they deserve a bigger audience. We hope these blogs provide an insight into the amazing lives of our wonderful residents. In this Resident Story, we will be meeting Frank William, a Cypress Gardens Aged Care Resident.

Frank was born on the 4th of March, 1940. Just two days before his 21st birthday in 1961, Frank migrated from Germany to Australia with the promise of accommodation and a job in Melbourne, Victoria. From there, he got on a bus from Melbourne to Wodonga and a train from Wodonga to Sydney. He landed in Villawood and was lucky enough to get a job in Cabramatta, opposite the train station, in a bakery shop in Fairfield. This stroke of good fortune would shape the rest of Frank’s life.

It takes dough to make dough

The bakery where Frank landed his new job was large, with 22 people working in it. The owner was from Switzerland and the shop was called Swish. Within a couple of months, he became the foreman. Using his entrepreneurial initiative, Frank secured a bank loan to make improvements to Swish. It took him and his wife, who lived upstairs above the bakery, five years to pay the loan back.

The financial gamble paid off, and Frank and his wife improved the business 100%. He was then asked by the German and Austrian society if he would make a variety of German and Austrian cakes for an upcoming event. This was an exciting order for Frank, giving him the opportunity to show off his cake-making skills! He made some apple turnovers and chocolate eclairs, which were unheard of at that time. He was also asked to make 25 German ginger bread biscuits and, at the event, they were gone within a few minutes. Frank was establishing a great reputation, which put him in high demand.

TriCare Aged Care Residence Cypress Gardens Frank William

Rising to the occasion

After the success of that first event, Frank was asked if he could make more baked treats for a big up and coming event in 1970, which was none other than Australia’s first Oktoberfest! It was held at the Sydney Showgrounds and he was given a huge order: 20,000 ginger bread biscuits and in the shape of a heart. The idea was for boys to give one to a girl who would wear it around their neck. He agreed to do it, and he was determined to do it as authentically as possible. To get the biscuits just right, he had to make a trip to Germany to get a special sticker to put on the biscuits. Frank successfully filled the order with help from the five women in his baking team.

On the day of Oktoberfest, Fairfield Showground had 50,000 people attend. The gates opened at 12pm and the ginger bread biscuits were all sold out within a few hours – they were a huge success. The Mayor of Fairfield and the Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam, along with his wife, were invited to attend Oktoberfest. Frank made a large ginger bread heart, especially for them, and the story ended up on the news.

TriCare Aged Care Residence Cypress Gardens Frank William

No loafing around

Frank continued to make biscuits and other food supplies for Oktoberfest for the next five years. His reputation grew further, and his sourdough bread and pretzels were being delivered all over Australia by ANA Japan airlines. The receiving companies could never believe how fresh they still were on arrival.

After several years of enjoying business success and being the upper crust of baking in Sydney, Frank’s brother-in-law suggested that they should sell the bakery business and go in to building homes. Frank and his family decided it was time for a new adventure and so they moved to the Gold Coast and have worked and lived there ever since. Frank moved into Cypress Gardens Aged Care Residence on the 23rd of August, 2022. Cypress Gardens is an ideal community for Frank to stay close to family while enjoying a superb lifestyle. Frank particularly enjoys attending music and concert activities, happy hour, and theme day celebrations. Not surprisingly, when Oktoberfest came around this year, Frank captivated his fellow residents (and staff!) by sharing the story of his special connection with the German celebration.

To find out more about Cypress Gardens or to book a private tour, please get in touch with our team on 1300 874 2273 or click on the link below.

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