Described as a “fiercely independent” woman, Muriel Conway celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends.
Born in Bundaberg on 15 July 1921, the same year Bert Hinkler made a record-breaking long-distance flight from Sydney to Bundaberg, Muriel grew up in a large family of 14 children.
Growing up in the Bundaberg Region Muriel said life was very different to today, but she wouldn’t change a thing.
And not only would she not change a thing, but she’d love to do it all over again.
“I feel pretty good – I don’t feel 100 at all!” Muriel smiled as she said.
“Where did all the years go? I think I could go another 100.”
Muriel is a great-great-grandmother to eight, a grandmother to three, and she raised her two adopted children, Kerri and Ian, with husband John Joseph Conway.
Speaking endearingly about her mum, Kerri said they were given the best life even after her father passed away during her teenage years, leaving Muriel to raise them.
“Mum always gave her best, as a single mum on the pension she made all of our clothes, and her own dresses – actually she still made them right up until my daughter was married,” Kerri said.
“I remember she would cut out the patterns on sheets of the NewsMail and made clothes for a lot of kids in Bundaberg.”
Kerri said her mum’s life was full of adventure and wonder, and Muriel always craved to know more – whether it was travelling Australia on her own or going to TAFE later in life to learn mechanics and carpentry.
“Before she had us mum lived on a dairy farm; she’d often tell us how she, along with her brothers and sisters, would milk 70 cows before school, collect water from the creek and did a lot of chores,” Kerri said.
“She tells us of the time she recalls climbing through a barbed wire fence as it was struck by lightning and waking up in her mother’s arms while she was milking the cows; times were different then.”
“After Dad passed away, mum worked hard to give us the best she could. She went to TAFE and learnt mechanics, cooper works and carpentry.
“Mum was an excellent scholar in everything she did. When she was young, she dreamed of being a nurse, but her father was a staunch man and said that was something his daughter would not do. So, later she joined St Johns and followed her dream that way.
“Mum is fiercely independent; a kind and loving person – she’s never sworn and the harshest word she’s ever said is ‘Jiminy cricket'!”
Muriel and her family enjoyed a high tea to celebrate her 100th birthday at Rowers on the River, attended by Mayor Jack Dempsey who congratulated her on behalf of the community for reaching the impressive milestone.
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