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We Could All Learn A Thing Or Two From The Jellybean Minstrels

All we really need is health, happiness and great mates.

As the sun begins to creep up from beyond the horizon on a crisp winter morning, a group of women gathers at Cronulla in Sydney's south. They're there to swim, and to sing.

While most of their fellow Sydneysiders hit the snooze button on their alarm, wake up to a fresh cup of coffee or step into a warm shower, the Jellybean Minstrels are going about their usual routine, and it's one that hasn't changed much over the last 40 years.

Standing on the shores of Oak Park beach, the dedicated early-risers pull on their multi-coloured swimming caps, strip down to their swimsuits and make their way into the rock pool, hand in hand.

For most, just the thought of diving into the water on a winter's morning is enough to send shivers down one's spine, but not for Noelene Redmond and her choral mates -- for them, it's just an ordinary Thursday.

"Rain, hail or shine -- it's always nice in," she told HuffPost Australia.

"Once you get in that water, it's just your world, it's beautiful... The saltwater is so good for you.

"You breathe it up your nose, have a little gargle every morning and it does you does you wonders!"

There's no restriction on who can join the group -- some, like Noelene, have been swimming in the pool for 35 years.

"We used to have a lot more people but we've lost a few over the years, which is sad. They're always watching us every morning... They always know we're here at the pool which is comforting."

Betsy, 89, has been a regular for close to 40 years and while she says she's a "traitor" for leaving Melbourne, she "wouldn't want to live anywhere else".

After a few laps in the water, the group -- under the watchful eye of conductor Noelene -- join together for a few songs, kicking things off with 'Oh What A Beautiful Morning', succeeded by 'Jolly Good Company'.

They weren't always the Jellybean Minstrels though, as Noelene pointed out "way back when", the group was just known as the Jellybeans, which is what she says they looked like wearing "all different coloured caps" bobbing around in the water.

"Then later on we started singing," she laughed.

"So therefore then, we had the name re-registered as the Jellybean Minstrel Swimmers."

Each of the women has a different story on how they come to be involved in the group, but there's one common thread that keeps them all coming back each morning, and that's friendship.

While they claim that the fresh saltwater is what keeps them in good health, it's clear to an outsider that the laughs and friendship they share with one another truly is the best medicine.


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