Keyton | An afternoon with Rhonda Burchmore

An afternoon with Rhonda Burchmore

Thursday, 22 February 2024

Rhonda Burchmore recently gave an exclusive performance to a select group of residents and visitors at the Grand Opening of Ardency Kennedy Place. We sat down with the beloved Australian entertainer and singing powerhouse to chat about her unique connection to the Richmond premium retirement residences, how she focuses on her wellbeing with a busy performance schedule, and what her retirement plans look like. 

Entertainment powerhouse 

From music and food production to entertainment, the site of Ardency Kennedy Place has a vibrant history. The original 1908 building was first home to the Wertheim Piano factory before the Great Depression in 1929 saw a decline in piano sales and the factory had no choice but to close.  

It was then sold to canned-food giant Heinz, but with the advent of television, the factory was taken over by Channel 9 Studios in 1956 where some of the country’s most iconic shows including The Don Lane Show and Hey Hey It’s Saturday were filmed - programmes that Rhonda Burchmore knows all about. 

“I did my first Don Lane Show down here,” she reminisces about that time. “It was a really big deal for a young girl in her 20s to be invited. I remember it as clear as day. It was magical.” 

Rhonda quickly became a regular on the show, making her mark on Australian television. “It was a big deal to choreograph the number in the day. An 18-piece big band and then meet Don Lane and Bert Newton. And from there I would go on to do a regular spot on The Don Lane Show and of course, the one that I spent most time here was Hey Hey It's Saturday.  

“For about 25 years I was on that show. Everything from singing, doing a segment called Celebrity Head, which was very popular. And I was known as one of the gang." 

Rhonda Burchmore performing for residents in the Kennedy Club at Ardency Kennedy Place Rhonda Burchmore performing for residents in the Kennedy Club at Ardency Kennedy Place

The new era of Ardency Kennedy Place 

Today, the heritage-listed Channel 9 building retains many of its original features, accompanied by a luxurious retirement residence fittingly named Ardency Kennedy Place after famous Australian entertainer, Graham Kennedy, the former ‘King of Australian Television’. 

"This is the first time back here and it's quite amazing, the transformation,” Rhonda smiles when asked how it feels to be back at the site for the Grand Opening of Ardency Kennedy Place. 

“I'm lucky enough to be in one of the penthouse apartments. The views are phenomenal. What I really love about it is the light and how spacious it all is and really state of the art. I'm kind of thinking I might have to be checking myself in here. What a place to retire and to live.” 

What a place to retire and to live 

Rhonda’s retirement plans 

Even though the singer has spent almost 40 years working in the arts and entertainment industry, she is not retiring any time soon. When asked about her upcoming plans, she shares a glimpse into her busy schedule.  

“Lots and lots of shows. I've got a Cabaret de Paris, which is the nearest thing to Moulin Rouge. And then I do a lot of concerts all around Australia, everywhere from Alice Springs to Darwin to Perth.”  

When asked about how she manages such a busy schedule, Rhonda says she just loves what she does. “I don't think age has got anything to do with it if you still enjoy what you do - and I do.”  

With such a busy schedule, health and wellbeing is a big factor in her everyday life as well. "A lot of it is a good mental attitude. I surround myself with a lot of young people and, as you know, age is just a number.” 

Age is just a number 

But it’s not just the company you keep – Rhonda also makes exercise a part of her daily routine. “I have two standard poodles that I walk for about two hours a day. I don't go near a gym,“ she laughs.  

While the gym at Ardency Kennedy Place might not be the selling point for Rhonda, she is a big fan of the onsite wellness centre that features a heated pool, a hair and beauty salon and a dedicated health and wellbeing program. "This for me looks like going on a big holiday. It's like a resort. It's great, the focus on wellbeing.” 

“Cherish every moment” 

Reflecting on her exceptional career and life just before she was about to hit the stage for an exclusive performance in the Kennedy Club resident’s lounge on the 8th floor, Rhonda shares one last heartfelt message." I just think life on this planet is not long enough. Cherish every moment." 

Rhonda Burchmore

Learn more about Ardency Kennedy Place

For more information about the lifestyle and support offered at our retirement villages, call our customer service team on 1800 550 550 or send us an email here.

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