50 Faces of IRT – Danny Jones, 25 years and still cooking
- As IRT celebrates 50 Years, we’ve dug into the archives to share stories of some of the faces that make up our family – past and present
- This month, IRT’s Catering Services Centre is celebrating its 20th birthday, but our Catering team has been cooking meals for our residents for much longer than that!
We've dug into the archives and found this 1999 story about Danny Jones – long before IRT Catering Services existed, Danny cooked meals for IRT Towradgi Park Village’s 12 care centre residents in the village’s craft room on a borrowed stove.
In January 1974, Danny Jones commenced work at Towradgi Park Village cooking and service meals to residents. 25 years later and Danny is still cooking!
Danny and his wife Joan had just arrived in Australia from England when they applied for jobs at the almost completed Towradgi Park Village care centre. Danny started work immediately as cook with nothing more than the craft room and a stove borrowed from one of the new self-care units to prepare meals for the 12 care centre residents.
Danny prepared, cooked, served and cleared meals for the first few days with tables borrowed from Diment Towers, no running water and a little help from the residents. Those days were thankfully short lived with other staff starting a few days later and the new kitchen and dining room was finished shortly after.
The following years were spent cooking meals for Towradgi residents as the village expanded. Towradgi then became the central cooking point for all IRT meals, which then included Diment Towers. A few years after the construction of IRT Woonona Care Centre, the central kitchen was relocated to Woonona, where it has remained until today (1999).
Danny has seen a lot of changes in the IRT’s catering and was one of the first in Australia to be trained in and use the innovative “cook chill” system of meal preparation.
Danny’s wife Joan also worked for IRT or many years as a nurse’s aide and diversional therapist at both IRT Towradgi and IRT Woonona.
According to retired IRT Executive Director, Noel Howard, who originally interviewed Danny and worked with him for most of the 25 years “Danny is polite to everyone he meets, he’s loyal and dedicated and a real gentleman. He enjoys a bet on the horses and a game of snooker which lead him to great height in local competitions. I remember Dr Diment and myself watching Danny compete in the local championships in the old Wollongong Club and we were very proud of his achievements.”
The future holds another series of changes and challenges with the opening of the new Catering Services Centre at Unanderra in March, which will boast state-of-the-art design and equipment. Danny, congratulations on your 25 years’ long service and we wish you all the best for the opportunities and challenges that await you.
Danny Jones retired in 2000, the year after the IRT Catering Services Centre in Unanderra opened.
Today, IRT Catering creates, prepares and delivers over 52,000 delicious meals a week to IRT aged care centres and a number of external clients throughout NSW and ACT, including public hospitals and other aged care providers.