On 30 August, we wish a special happy birthday to Mrs Mary Wilson (nee Blanch), who is proud to enter her centenarian era in the comfort of her home, with the weekly assistance of Resthaven Murray Bridge, Hills & Fleurieu Community Services.
Mrs Wilson was born and raised in Adelaide with her parents and siblings, before moving to Strathalbyn to begin her nursing training in 1941.
After completing her general training at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, she relocated to Crown Street Hospital in Sydney, to study midwifery. In 1948, she returned to Strathalbyn to work at the local hospital.
At a hospital ball, Mrs Wilson met her future husband, Mr Allen Wilson, an Ashbourne farmer. They married in 1950, and lived in Summerhill, located on the edge of Strathalbyn, where they grew grain crops and bred merino sheep.
Over the next 11 years, Mr and Mrs Wilson welcomed five daughters in their Summerhill home; however, she still managed to find time for her lifelong interests in her community; volunteering at the Church of England, Mothers’ and Babies’ Health Association, Meals on Wheels, and the Strathalbyn Hospital.
Between 1979 and 1989, Mrs Wilson was a Women’s Auxiliary representative on the hospital board. She made sandwiches at the Saleyards for many years to raise money for the hospital, and was a hospital visitor-trolley lady.
In 1987, Mrs Wilson became a founding volunteer at the Hospital op-shop—a role she enjoyed for 25 years.
For 30 years, she delivered Meals on Wheels.
In 2022, Mrs Wilson’s almost 60 years of community service earned her the Alexandrina Council Citizen of the Year Award.
In 1981, Mr and Mrs Wilson moved to Point Sturt. They built a lakeside house, and their retirement years included many caravanning trips. They enjoyed visiting friends and family across Australia and New Zealand, with many winters spent in Queensland.
In 2009, after Mrs Wilson’s husband died, she relocated back to her hometown, Strathalbyn.
When considering her long life, Mrs Wilson says, ‘I was very fortunate to have had wonderful parents who set great examples for us children. I had a happy life with Allen, and my family. My community involvement further enriched my life.’
At 100 years old, Mrs Wilson is happily living in her own home with assistance from her two daughters who live in the district, and Resthaven.
One of her daughters said, ‘Mother is very grateful for all the care she receives, and she will be excited to check her letterbox on the 30th for a letter from the King!’
Many happy returns, Mrs Wilson!
Resthaven prides itself on supporting older South Australians to stay at home for as long as possible, and has recently launched a new government-funded program to facilitate carer support in regional areas.
The Staying at Home in Regional South Australia program forms part of the Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and aims to provide vital education and support to carers whilst their loved one is cared for in the same location by experienced staff.