Norah Burls celebrated her 100th birthday.
Norah Burls celebrated her 100th birthday.

Norah celebrates her 100th

CRICKETERS weren’t the only ones scoring centuries on the weekend, Gympie’s Norah Burls was 100 not out on Sunday.

It’s not surprising the South African-born Mrs Burls was an accomplished pianist – music is in her blood.

Her uncle was the famous English clarinetist Acker Bilk, known for his trademark goatee, bowler hat and rich clarinet style.

Son Gavin Burls said his mother was born Norah Bilk at Douglas, South Africa, marrying farmer Guy Burls in her mid-20s and having two children – himself and Avril.

After Gavin and wife Lyn immigrated to Australia in 1981, his mother followed in 1984, joining them on their Wolvi property.

“She made up her mind to come over and that was it,” he said. “She’d never been on a plane before.”

He said his mother settled in quickly and “helped us tremendously with our strelitzia and avocado farm”.

Mr Burls said his mother has been an avid gardener all her life.

“She always had beautiful gardens, both in South Africa and Australia. And she was an accomplished pianist who played well into her 80s,” he said.

Mrs Burls now resides at Gympie Nursing Centre, where the family got together for her birthday celebration. To keep her mind active Mrs Burls tackles The Gympie Times crossword every day.

As to the secret of her longevity Mr Burls put it down to “good genes and her very calm nature”.

“She never drank or smoked, ate very well and believed in everything in moderation,” her son said.

Gympie Times


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