Ethel celebrates 100 years, still young at heart


Ethel Young is today celebrating her 100th birthday in Bundaberg with family and friends.

Lined up on top of Ethel's buffet are cards featuring birthday messages from family, friends, well-wishers and the Queen.

As Ethel glances at them, a twinkle in her eye gives away the excitement she feels about her milestone birthday.

The Bundaberg woman is celebrating her 100th birthday today, surrounded by all of her loved ones.

Ethel is modest about the big occasion, saying it's “just another day”.

“I don't feel 100!” she laughed.

Life of Ethel Young

Ethel was born on 6 June 1919 in Gympie to John and Avis McKewin.

She attended Gympie Central State School and during those early years was taught by her German grandmother how to cook, knit, crochet and more.

After leaving school she worked as a housekeeper for a local doctor.

Ethel married in 1941 and had four children: Gordon, Dennise, Patricia and Robyn.

At this time, the family lived in Clonave, Eidsvold, on a cattle station during the Second World War.

Her daughter Patricia recalled in those days there was “no car, only horse and sulky”.

“She worked hard at all the usual things that have to be done on a property, raising children, looking after the relatives, and also raising a nephew as one of the family,” Patricia said.

“Mum loved to cook, especially cakes and biscuits and she won some CWA competitions, even a few at state level.”

Ethel moved to Bundaberg in 1991, where she made a home for herself at Argyle Gardens.

“The move was a big thing for her, but she got to do a lot of things that she hadn’t been able to do before,” Patricia said.

“She travelled to places like Cairns, Norfolk Island and Western Australia.”

Ethel Young is celebrating her 100th birthday today surrounded by loved ones.
Ethel Young is celebrating her 100th birthday today surrounded by loved ones.

A kind heart

Patricia said her mum had always been kind and caring, and loved to bake for everyone she knew.

“Every year she would make each of us a Christmas cake and pudding, until it became a bit of a chore for her and it was easier just to buy a Lions cake,” she said.

“The wonderful thing about Mum, she was always ready to drop everything when there was a family member in need of her help and loving support.”

Other memorable occasions in Ethel's life include seeing four of her children married and then the arrival of six grandchildren, and later 13 great-grandchildren.

Ethel said turing 100 years old had provided many highlights and her secret to enjoying a long life was, in fact, no secret at all.

“Just work hard!” Ethel said.