Australia’s oldest man, who is 109 years old now, has knitted tiny sweaters for penguins who end up with oil on their body from oil spills. Alfie Date, the oldest man in Australia at 109, started knitting in 1932 when his nephew was getting ready to be born. His sister-n-law taught him how to knit so he could knit a sweater for his brand new baby nephew. Now his nephew is a grandfather himself and Alfie is a grandfather to 20 grandchildren as well as is a great-grandfather to about the same or even more. Once the nurses at the retirement center he lives in learned that he could knit, they asked him to help them with their project to knit sweaters for penguins. He said he couldn’t say no.
According to the Huffington Post on Feb. 12, these tiny sweaters can help keep the penguins from ingesting the oil on their body when they are cleaning themselves. Without the help of these tiny sweaters that Alfie helps knits, the oil can easily poison them and kill them.
According to the Daily Mail, the project for helping these penguins is called, Philip Island Penguin Foundation. The project started last March and the foundation says they now have enough tiny sweaters for the penguins. Alfie was only at the retirement home where he is living for about 12 hours when the nurses found out he knew how to knit and they approached him to ask if he would help out with the sweaters for penguin’s project. These little penguins are only found in southern Australia and New Zealand and there is a colony of about 32,000 of them on Philip Island. With the help of Alfie and many other people around the world, there are now enough tiny sweaters to keep these penguins safe from the oil spills.
Not only can the oil kill the penguins if they ingest it but it can cause them distress and discomfort too. Also, it doesn’t matter how old Alfie is because he always makes sure his sweaters or jumpers, as he calls them, are always up to scratch.
The Philip Island Penguin Foundation has officially made Alfie their most senior jumper knitter. Despite Alfie’s age, he still has good enough vision and nimble enough fingers to get these little sweaters knitted perfectly for the little penguins.