Australia’s Oldest Man Knits Mini Sweaters To Save The Lives Of Little Penguins

When you live to 109 years old, what do you think you will be doing? Knitting little sweaters for penguins probably wouldn’t be it, but that’s exactly what one 109-year-old man found himself doing.

Alfred ‘Alfie’ Date, the oldest person in Australia, has been spending his free time knitting tiny wool sweaters for tiny penguins in need. It started when Phillip Island’s Penguin Foundation requested keen knitters to donate their time and yarn to make woollen jumpers for little penguins after a massive oil spill in March 2014.

Penguin Sweaters
PINP/AAT Kings/Spotlight/Rex USA

The nurses at the New South Wales retirement home where he stays learned that he is an experienced knitter, and asked if he could put his well-known skills to use. The self-taught knitter, who remembers the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and the declaration of World War I, never learned to say no to favors. Using heavy wool provided by the nurses, Alfie put his 80 years of knitting skills to good use and got to work.

Alfie Knits Penguin Sweaters

Oil can make the penguins’ feathers stick together, allowing water to get to their inner layers. This causes the little penguins to get cold and not be able to hunt due to heaviness.

Penguin In Red Sweater
AP Images/Associated Press

The removable sweaters also help prevent the penguins from trying to remove the sludge themselves and swallowing the toxic oil.

Penguin In Sweater
AP Images/Associated Press

Today, Alfie keeps his ageing hands active by knitting scarves for friends and beanies for premature babies. It is a good thing Alfie never worked out how to say ‘no.’ Share this heartwarming story with others below!