Many happy returns to Mrs Florence Elliot, who celebrated her 100th birthday on 30 July, 2020.
Florence, who is supported to live independently in her own home by Resthaven Marion Community Services, was born in Perth, Western Australia, the youngest of eight.
‘I had four brothers and three sisters,’ she says. ‘As the youngest, you might have thought I was the spoiled darling, but it’s not the case. No one got spoiled in our house – mum was too busy!’
When Florence was 17, she moved to South Australia, travelling by boat, before catching the train to Broken Hill, which she describes as ‘a big adventure’.
She stayed in Broken Hill for four months before moving to North Adelaide, where she met her husband, Robert.
‘He used to come and buy his smokes at my auntie’s shop, that’s how I got to know him,’ she says. ‘His father had a car, which was a big deal in those days.’
‘He played football for North Adelaide and was a big tall bloke, whereas my ancestors were all little Cornish miners!’
The couple were married in Christmas of 1939, and went on to have five children – four boys and one girl.
‘Things weren’t easy then,’ Florence says. ‘We had no conveniences at home. Everything is so easy to do now – you flip a switch there, and it’s done.’
In 1959, the couple moved to their new-built house in Marion, where Mrs Elliot has remained ever since.
Florence’s only major health trouble was the loss of her left eye five years ago, following a fall. This does make reading and writing more difficult for her, but, with characteristic determination, she perseveres with her favourite activities, which include reading, watching documentaries on SBS, and doing crosswords.
‘I’m a crossword queen,’ she says.
‘In general, I’m very good health-wise. I’m just old and worn out!’
She has ‘no idea’ how she managed to reach her 100-year milestone, saying, ‘Heavens, I’ve never thought about why I reached 100 – just sheer bad luck I suppose!’ she jokes.
Florence is appreciative of the support provided by Resthaven Marion Community Services, saying, ‘Two people come and help me with my showers, and I have help with the cleaning and the garden.’
‘I wouldn’t be able to live at home without them. I wouldn’t be able to stay here. And John [son] helps me too.’
‘I’m quite happy with the way I’m living, and with the help that I get,’ she says. ‘I’m not fussy, I don’t want anything fancy.’
‘I still know what I’m doing. I’m satisfied.’
Happy birthday, Florence!