Dr Harry Cooper gives HammondGrove a dose of Chook Therapy

Australian television royalty recently touched down in HammondGrove to surprise the retirement living residents with some new feathered friends.

The residents were enjoying a lively bird show with Kris’s Feathered Friends last year when they were joined by special guest Dr Harry Cooper.

The Better Homes and Gardens episode this Friday, March 1, captures the moment the beloved vet suggested some of the colourful chooks should stick around.

It was then up to Logie-winning builder Adam Dovile to build a suitable home for the chickens, which was unveiled to delighted residents and staff at the end of the week.

The chooks are now cared for by HammondGrove residents Lyn Ralph and Jenny Bouda. Fellow residents Brian and Sheila Rule, who were present at the grand unveiling, said the chooks were a welcome addition to life at HammondGrove.

Brian’s first job at age 15 was looking after chooks for seven days a week, “rain, hail or shine”, in the English village of Weeting. Sheila, a fellow British expat, lived in a chicken coop for six weeks as a child upon migrating to Orange in NSW’s west.

The pair married in 1963 and spent most of their married life in Moorebank, where they raised three daughters and have since welcomed nine grandchildren. They moved to HammondGrove in August 2017.


Pictured: HammondGrove residents enjoy time with some new feathered friends.

“It’s absolutely wonderful here,” Sheila said. “We’re well looked after, all the residents are friendly, and the local birdlife is one of wide variety.

“The chooks are fantastic. It’s a great idea for people to get out of their rooms, come down to the duck pond and enjoy the outdoors.”

The chicken coop is also a nod to the history of Hammondville, which began life in the 1930s as a housing project for families left destitute by the Great Depression. Backyard veggie patches and chook pens were a common feature in what was then the rural outskirts of Sydney.

‘Ye Olde Chicken Coop’ is not the only construction happening in Hammondville. Aged care charity HammondCare is currently undertaking a multimillion-dollar upgrade to facilities including the historic Bond House, one of Sydney’s first aged care homes.

Stage 2 of the expansion, which will add 50 beds to the site in five brand-new cottages, is due for completion in June 2019.

The Better Homes and Gardens episode ‘Chook Therapy’ goes to air at 7pm on Friday, March 1.