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Hazel’s grand links to Gympie

Hazel White enjoys her 100th birthday.
Hazel White enjoys her 100th birthday.

IN HER 100 years Hazel White has seen many things, the most memorable was when she first set her sights on an aeroplane.

It was no ordinary aeroplane; it was the plane of famous aviator Bert Hinkler, the first person to fly solo from England to Australia, when he landed at the Gympie Showgrounds.

"It might seem silly to people today but we were a lot of bush kids," Mrs White said.

"It was the first time any of us had seen a plane."

Mrs White celebrated her 100th birthday with about 70 family and friends at Cooinda yesterday.

Two of those friends were Lottie Hurford, herself 103, and Gert Pearson aged 98.

The trio have more than 300 years of life experience and jokingly put their longevity down to indoor bowls.

Mrs White said she loved indoor bowls and most sports, but said she didn't really know why she had lived so long and enjoyed such good health.

"I just eat ordinary food," Mrs White said.

"Porridge and toast for breakfast, fresh vegies for lunch and a hot meal at night, like a stew or a roast.

"I have always liked a glass of cold beer but I didn't drink to excess."

Mrs White was born at Cedar Pocket the only child of a bullock driver and his wife.

"Dad said it was the coldest August on record and he had to drive the horse and sulky into Gympie to pick up the midwife because my grandmother told him I was about to be born."

Mrs White went to Cedar Pocket Primary School before moving into Gympie to go to Gympie High School.

"I couldn't say I didn't like school; I made a lot of friends," Mrs White said.

From there she became a nurse working at Wondai, Pomona and the Glandore and Lister Hospitals in Gympie.

At 26 she was married and had to give up work, as was the law in those days.

She met Hugh Thomas White or "Huck" to his friends at a dance at the Soldier's Hall in town.

"He came up and asked me for a dance, as you did in those days," Mrs White said.

"He could dance and I thought you will do me for a partner. I liked to dance too."

Huck worked in the railway and they settled in a house on Hilton Rd where they brought up three children Tony, Mary and Catherine. Mrs White now has four grand children and eight great grand children.

She said she had an "ordinary life" but a very happy one.

"Life is what you make it," she said.

After cutting her cake and receiving well wishes from a host of people including Prime Minster Kevin Rudd, the Queen and the Pope she thanked everyone for attending.

"I am having a wonderful day," Mrs White said.

Birthday girl Hazel White (middle) who turned 100 yesterday with friends Lottie Hurford age 103 and Gert Pearson aged 98.
Birthday girl Hazel White (middle) who turned 100 yesterday with friends Lottie Hurford age 103 and Gert Pearson aged 98. Craig Warhurst

Topics:  100th birthday centenarian

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