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Miranda changed the face of community and aged care in the Illawarra

Miranda Tull is originally from Trieste, Italy. Trieste is located in Northern Italy, close to the Slovenian mountains. During the Second World War, Trieste had been bombed. The bomb dropped close to Miranda’s house, but luckily for her and her family, it did not detonate.

In 1954, when she was 21, Miranda moved to Australia with her husband on a two-year contract, and they stayed longer than expected. However, in 1959, Miranda’s husband decided he wanted to return home, so they packed up and moved back to Trieste. Then, Miranda says, “After 8 months back in Italy, my husband came to me with two tickets to go back to Australia.”

Settling in Wollongong felt like an obvious choice for Miranda, “Trieste lies under the Slovenian Mountains. Now, my home sits under Mount Keira so it feels a lot like my old home.”

After living in Wollongong for a while, Miranda felt the area was lacking a community for Italian migrants. She joined forces with a government funded group, the Illawarra Migrant Project, to visit the elderly in the Illawarra to check in on them. Miranda’s focus was Warrawong and Port Kembla, where there is still a strong Italian presence today.

“During this time, I found out that Italian men in particular needed to mix with each other in their community. Without being paid, we would organise for the men to go to Wollongong Harbour where they would play cards and be in each other's company.”

Once the Illawarra Migrant Project had finished, Miranda suggested to the organisers Guilia and Efrem Bonacina, that they open a ‘day care’ for Italian people in Wollongong. Miranda’s suggestion resulted in the creation of a community group that gave purpose and community to Italians in the Illawarra. Guilia and Efrem worked hard and established the Italian Centre.

After her work with the Italian Centre, Miranda decided to study interpreting at University.

An advantage of growing up on the borders of Italy and Slovenia is that Miranda could speak both languages fluently by the time she was 3 years old.

Once she was certified, Miranda took up a role as Interpreter for NSW Health, also becoming the first Slovenian Interpreter in the Illawarra region.

While working in this role, she helped patients and health professionals all across the Illawarra to better understand each other. “I worked in hospitals and Nursing Homes across all of the Illawarra until I was 72. I loved the job because I was able to meet a lot of people and truly help them – I just love to work with people.”

“[Interpreting] is very important because when someone is sick, they need to at least understand what the doctor will do to them and how they can best communicate.”

Nearly two years ago, Miranda found community and friendship at Community Gateway. She joins the Ladies Day Out group and Bus Trips, “I love coming here. Every Friday we go somewhere new. What more could you want?!”

The connection our Social groups provide is vital to ensure that our older Australians remain connected and active in their communities. For many, these outings and activities can be the highlight of their week, so our team are dedicated to making those them fun and rewarding for all.

Miranda added, “I’ll be 90 next year. I need to socialise with people, leave the house and go out and make friends. We all need that connection.”

For more information about how Community Gateway could benefit you or someone you love, please call our friendly team on 1300 657 473.


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