98-year-old Dorothy Mclean knows the value of volunteering.

She remembers the day a curator at the museum asked for people to make soft coat hangers for hanging garments long-term in Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.

She felt this was something she could do, and decided to sign up.

So every Thursday, Dorothy headed into what was then called the Technological Museum, and worked on making coathangers for displays which would become pivotal to the Powerhouse’s success.

Each plastic coathanger was surrounded by nylon padding and jersey material, and stitched by hand to Dorothy’s design.

The weekly volunteering routine

Dorothy used to leave her Maroubra home every Thursday at 8.15am, catch the bus to Railway Square, and work a 9am to 3pm shift where she’d work hard cutting out padding and fabric.

Dorothy recalls the time when a hip operation made it harder for her to get on the bus with her walking stick.

The museum appreciated her so much that they started bringing the materials to her, then picking them up when she’d made a dozen.

It was only last year, at age 97, that Dorothy officially retired from her volunteering role due to macular degeneration and frequent falls.

She graduated with her volunteering certificate after 34 years of service.

But she’d forever left her mark on one of Australia’s most famous museums, never to be forgotten.

Dorothy Mclean is a client of South Eastern Community Connect, which supports seniors to live independently and enjoy a greater quality of life through a range of programs.

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