On 2 August 2022, Resthaven Murray Bridge resident, Mrs Kathleen Byass (nee Pedler), celebrated her 105th birthday.
Mrs Byass was born at Moonta on 2 August 1917, shortly after her twin brother, and the only daughter of Abraham and Gladys Pedler. A self-confessed ‘real tomboy’, Mrs Byass grew up in a family of five brothers.
In 1922, the family moved from Agery on the Yorke Peninsula to Yantanaby on the Eyre Peninsula, as pioneer farmers. The family farmed sheep, cattle and crops, and her brothers helped their father with all the jobs around the farm.
In those days, there was no electricity, and no tractors.
‘When the first car arrived in the late 1920s, it was a God send, after the horse and buggy.’
As the children grew older, Mrs Byass’s eldest brother, who played saxophone in a band, would take her along to balls, weddings and birthday parties, where everyone enjoyed dancing and singing.
One of Mrs Byass’ first jobs was as a secretary in Streaky Bay, before moving to Adelaide, where she worked in the office of the Arcadia Café on King William Street. This is where she met her late husband, Mr Les Byass of Mount Gambier. He invited her to lunch, and by 1940, the couple were married.
They began their married life together in Darke Peak on the Eyre Peninsula, where Les had taken a teaching position. Their first son was born in 1941, and their second in 1947 in Warrnambool.
In 1956, they moved to Woods Point, by which time Mrs Byass had also become a teacher. Mrs Byass remembers the 1956 Murray River flood, and watching the breaching of the river banks from Woods Point with the school children.
In 1962, the family moved to Payneham, and their last teaching positions were at the Klemzig Primary School, until their retirement.
Mrs Byass now has six grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.
‘I always enjoy seeing the families. Sometimes I see them and they’re so small – the next time, they’re all grown up! It’s beautiful.’
Mrs Byass still enjoys regular visits from her family, who often take her for a walk in her wheelchair or to sit outside (weather permitting). Mrs Byass continues to enjoy music, and watching the ballroom dancers when they have performed at the site.
As a resident of Resthaven Murray Bridge for ten years now, Mrs Byass has shared that ‘she is quite happy here,’ and that ‘the staff are always popping in and out to look after me, and have a chat.’
When asked if she has any words of wisdom, Mrs Byass says, ‘Just enjoy what comes to you.’
Wise words! Many happy returns on a wonderful milestone.
For more information about Resthaven Murray Bridge, click here.