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Never too old for a PhD

South Australian home care client, Gwen Walton, is a great advocate for continuous learning, independent of age.
Now in her 80s, Gwen Walton, pictured right with her husband Don, is ready to publish another book.

At the age of 77 years, she submitted her novel Children of the Earth as part of the requirement for a PhD in creative writing at Adelaide University.

The novel was a product of extensive research and was distributed through several websites and available for sale on

Now in her 80s, the ACH Group client is ready to publish another book – The Protector. She said her eagerness to learn is greater than her age. “I didn’t have a chance to go to university when I was younger and that was something I have always regretted,” Ms Walton says.

“I worked as a librarian my whole life so when I stopped paid work, I missed the world of books. I then decided to do my Masters in Creative Writing.”

Ms Walton says her university years were challenging but very fulfilling and that she had great support from classmates and teachers.

“There were challenges but I felt it was a very stimulating and welcoming environment. I was never treated differently because of my age,” she says.

“I believe my life experiences have definitely helped my learning and I had a lot of support from my husband Don. I could not have done it without him.” 

ACH Group is a South Australian aged and community care provider, with 1,700 specialist staff and hundreds of volunteers.


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