Alfred Date is 109 years old. This makes him the oldest man living in Australia. His life has been long and filled with many interesting activities. He stayed active his entire life, playing golf until he was in his 90s, soccer into his late 40s and cricket into his late 50s. He even went whitewater rafting in Canada when he was 91. He remembers the Titanic sinking and the outbreak of World War I. All of which might make his newest hobby even more surprising. He knits tiny sweaters for endangered penguins.
Alfred makes sweaters using heavy wool because if you use light wool, “you’re just wasting your time.” When he’s not making sweaters for penguins he makes beanies for premature babies and scarfs for his friends and family members. He has seven children and twenty grandchildren, so he is quite busy.
Alfred credits his work to his inability to say no to a request from a good cause. He has passed his knitting skills down to his children and grandchildren and has given many little penguins stylish and functional outerwear. He also has a well-developed sense of humor. When you ask him what he credits his long life to, he answers cheekily, “Waking up every morning!”
Why do penguins need sweaters? Penguins who have been caught in oil spills or oil slicks need to be cleaned to prevent them from ingesting the oil on their features. Once they’ve been cleaned, sweaters are put on the penguins to allow the feathers time to re-establish the natural oils. The sweaters also prevent the penguins from over-grooming themselves and risking consuming any missed oil. It’s a worthwhile project for any crafter.
Alfred Date is Australia’s oldest man. He is 109 years old and has been knitting since the 1930s. The penguins are his latest project.
You can see how small the sweaters need to be in order to fit the endangered penguins. During times where there are no real penguins in need of sweaters, these gorgeous handmade sweaters are put on stuffed penguins and sold to raise money for penguin related charities.