On 28 April, Miss Valda Graue celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends in her Western suburbs home.
Born and raised in Peterborough, South Australia, Miss Graue had an older sister, Nita, who also lived well into her 100s.
Miss Graue says, ‘My father was an engineer, while my mother tended to the home—she was a great hostess, and I remember always having visitors in our home.’
In her youth, Miss Graue attended the Peterborough Primary School, and graduated from the local high school, with a flair for mathematics.
Miss Graue went on to become a Ledger Machinist shop assistant and cashier, before moving her way up to bookkeeping, financial accounting, and secretary positions.
In 1958, Miss Graue moved with her parents, to a house in Adelaide, where she continues to reside today with the assistance of Resthaven Western Community Services.
Throughout her life, Miss Graue shared her career in finance with various hobbies.
‘I enjoyed playing tennis, netball, and athletics in my younger years.’
‘I was also quite musical, and played the piano and sang for the Peterborough Town Choir and church choir in Adelaide. Faith has always been present in my life.’
Along with her faith, Miss Graue has always found herself volunteering for various charities—so much so, that she received a Commonwealth Recognition Award for Senior Australians.
She explains, ‘That was for volunteering with the Thebarton Women’s Service Association for 16 years, until I was around 85 years old. I also received a separate certificate for 26 years of volunteering for Meals on Wheels.’
‘These are proud highlights I have been able to look back on in my life, among others.’
Reflecting on her life, Miss Graue visited all six states in Australia at different times, watched her niece, nephew, seven great nieces and nephews, and 11 great-great nieces and nephews grow, and witnessed technology change over 100 years.
‘Technology has been the most notable change over my lifetime. I used to use a typewriter, and you had to type correctly the first time! It was very difficult to correct, not like computers today.’
Now, Miss Graue continues to stay active in her home, enjoying puzzles, reading the paper, participating in Ladies’ Guild at her church, and taking part in Resthaven Western Community Services’ social group.
‘It is important to keep your mind and body active and have interests. Volunteering always appealed to me and gave me purpose, especially after retiring from full time work.’
Leading an independent life for 100 years, Miss Graue shares her words of wisdom with the younger generations: ‘Don’t tell anyone what to do!’
Wise words indeed.
Many happy returns, Miss Graue.