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Lottie still going strong at 106

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Lottie Hurford celebrating her 106th birthday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Lottie Hurford celebrating her 106th birthday. Contributed

AT 106, Lottie Hurford is showing no signs of slowing down.

She is possibly Queensland's oldest indoor bias bowls competitor.

And although that may be hard to verify formally, it seems unlikely there are too many older players.

Mrs Hurford has been a noted exponent of the sport for about 30 years now.

A whole generation has passed since she first took up the sport, then in her 70s.

She still plays three times a week and competes in competitions on a regular basis.

Sport has always been a big part of her life and both before and after her marriage, tennis was her game of choice.

She also likes to play cards every Friday night at the Oxford Crest activity centre and her favourite game is 500, and she regularly attends church.

Charlotte Hurford (nee atham) was born into a life of adversity on New Year's Eve 1909.

"We had a hard childhood," Mrs Hurford said when describing her early home life and growing up in a poor family on the farm.

"We sometimes went hungry. And we sometimes went without," she said.  

Lottie's wedding day.(back from left) The bride's mum Charlotte Latham with best man Ken Box, groom Phillip Hurford, bride Lottie Hurford, bride's maid Hilda Hewitt (nee Latham) and father of the bride Henry Latham.(Seated at front) Bride's maid, Hester Hurford, sister to the groom.This photo was taken at Lottie's wedding on July 22, 1931.
Lottie's wedding day.(back from left) The bride's mum Charlotte Latham with best man Ken Box, groom Phillip Hurford, bride Lottie Hurford, bride's maid Hilda Hewitt (nee Latham) and father of the bride Henry Latham.(Seated at front) Bride's maid, Hester Hurford, sister to the groom.This photo was taken at Lottie's wedding on July 22, 1931. Donna Jones

Farming was in her blood and it was only natural that she marry a dairy farmer, Phillip Hurford in 1931, who was to be the love of her life.

Together they had three children, including 79-year-old Phillis Kerr, who Lottie currently lives with.

Phillis was in a hurry to arrive, according to Mrs Hurford, who said she remembers very clearly giving birth to her on her own, at home on a dark and stormy afternoon in 1936.

She said it was all over in a matter of minutes and was wondering how to deal with the umbilical cord when her husband arrived back home and did the honours.

"It was raining and he didn't hear me calling out for him. Phil happened to come up at the right time," she said.

Mrs Hurford has seen some remarkable changes in her lifetime, including working with a horse and plough and using a "Coolgardie safe" before the invention of refrigerators.

"The ice was delivered with the cream carrier in a bag surrounded by sawdust," she recalls.

The ice was placed in a tray at the top of the box style contraption and slowly melted throughout the day.

The sides of the box were made of wire mesh overlaid with hessian that would absorb the melt and as the breeze blew through the hessian, helped to keep the contents cool.

Her daughter, Mrs Kerr, said she remembers her mum walking up and down the hall every evening for hours, shaking a billy full of cream to make butter.

(back) Alan Kerr, Phillis Kerr, (front) Joshua Kerr, Bryson Kerr, Charlottie "Lottie" Hurford, Braxton Kerr and Justin Kerr. HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Lottie Hurford celebrating her 106th birthday. CONTRIBUTED
(back) Alan Kerr, Phillis Kerr, (front) Joshua Kerr, Bryson Kerr, Charlottie "Lottie" Hurford, Braxton Kerr and Justin Kerr. HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Lottie Hurford celebrating her 106th birthday. CONTRIBUTED Contributed

She also recalls Mrs Hurford heading up to the "dry" paddock in the calving season to bring the newborn calves back closer to the house to avoid predators.

"I remember mum riding the old pony with a couple of calves slung over the saddle and their mothers following along behind," Mrs Kerr said.

During the Second World War, the pair also remember having to use blackout curtains at night time, and ration coupons to buy food.

Mrs Hurford said one of the greatest innovations she recalls was when she got an automatic washing machine in 1960.  

This was the year after her and her husband moved into Gympie to start their retirement, but even though the pair were retired, Mrs Hurford was still active.

She was bean picking for her daughter right up until she was in her 80s and loved to get out in the garden, dancing and playing the harmonica and piano accordion.

"If there's a party on, she still jigs," Mrs Kerr laughed.

Mrs Hurford celebrated her 106th birthday surrounded by five generations of her family.

In addition to her own three children, she has 12 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, 15 great-great-grandchildren and a great-great-great-grandchild who was born in October last year.

Mrs Hurford said the secret to her longevity is to stay active, work hard and don't drink or smoke.

But Mrs Kerr gave credit more to good genes.

"Aunt Lilly (Mrs Hurford's eldest sister) was naughty. She drank, she smoked, she laughed and she made it to 100 too," Mrs Kerr said.  

Gympie Times

Topics:  birthday




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