Elsie laughs at the thought of being 100, confiding that she never thought she’d reach this fabulous milestone in her life …
What does it mean to you to be celebrating your 100th birthday, and what are the party plans?
I was born on 20 December 1910, and I never thought I would live to 100. My grandson is going to give me a birthday party, and all the family will be there. I just cannot believe that I am 100 yet!
What have been some of the highlights of your life so far?
This is a hard question to answer. I had five brothers go to war, and they all came back. This made all the family very happy, as so many were lost.
I remember steam trains as the major transport. My husband Ken and I purchased our first car in 1968; it was a white Morris Minor, and it was very reliable. I recall the day we nearly had an accident with a steam train at Delungra; I can still see the driver’s face, but we had a good car with good brakes. I guess it just wasn’t our time to go.
A lot has certainly changed in 100 years, like the inventions of the radio, television and telephones. In my time, you were very lucky if you had these.
I have had eight children and now have twenty-five grandchildren and have lost count of the great, great grand children; there are so many.
What do you enjoy most about living in beautiful Port Macquarie?
I originally lived in Inverell on a property called ‘The Peak’. It was a 1,300 acre farm. I looked after the children and Ken worked on the property, which grew wheat, sunflowers and bred sheep and cattle. It was a peaceful and quiet place.
We first came to the North Haven area for holidays with our brothers, sisters and extended family. We love the climate and the beaches and the people are friendly, so when we left the property we could not think of any other place where we would like to live.
How have your experiences made you the person you are today?
Raising a big family, supporting my husband and working hard is what we all did to get by. I think being there for each other and learning from the opportunities life gives you is important. Be happy with what you have; I consider myself lucky to be here.
What advice would you give to the younger generation?
Work hard, don’t be lazy and be happy with what you have and who you are.
What activities are you involved with, and what is your favourite hobby?
When I was younger, I used to play tennis, indoor bowls, outdoor bowls and was club champion for a few years. I also enjoyed knitting, until my eyesight failed me. My favourite songs are Amazing Grace and Peter Alan’s I still call Australia Home. Only Peter Alan can sing that song. Now I read, and I like Take Five puzzles.
How long have you been with Manning Support Services at Port Macquarie, and how has their assistance been of value?
Therese is our volunteer. She changes my library books for me and looks for westerns that I haven’t read. Therese makes life easier by helping us shop and get to and from any medical appointments. She has been part of the family for two years, and we could not get by without her. Both Ken and I think a lot of Therese.
What do you enjoy about being a part of Manning Support Services at Port Macquarie ?
They are nice people and do a good job helping people in the community. Hastings Valley Neighbourhood Aid is the service that helps me through Manning Support Services Inc.
They can help with shopping, banking, errands and appointments. I like it when Therese stays for a chat and coffee. I know that if I needed anything else, Therese and Manning Support Services would help me and Ken stay in our home as long as possible. They support me to be independent, and that is very important to me.
From Manning Support Services
Manning Support Services Inc. is located on Level 1/49 Horton Street, Port Macquarie and can be contacted on 6584 5295. If you know anyone over 65 who may need some extra assistance, please call and chat with the team.
Volunteers play an integral part in the delivery of our service and make a huge difference to our clients’ wellbeing and independence. We would like to hear from anyone who can spare two hours a week to help the elderly, disabled and or carers in our community.
Mrs Elsie Stevenson’s 100th birthday was celebrated with a Council Tree Planting in Apex Park at Laurieton, and messages from the Queen, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Governor General.
Happy 100th Birthday, Mrs Elsie Stevenson.