Last year, for his 100th birthday, Bert Drury got back on a motorbike.
This year he’s been spending the lead-up to his 101st birthday on 5 February at work on his sewing machine.
Bert is known as “Mr Fixit” at his home in Bolton Clarke’s Galleon Gardens residential aged care community at Currumbin Waters, where he continues his lifelong love of creating, mending and repairing.
His latest project has been working with Residential Manager Bernadette Roney to mend a pair of trousers.
“When I was growing up, you didn’t just toss anything away – we used our skills to fix things,” he says.
“These pants need a new pocket so I am going to sew them up.”
Bert has never had idle hands and credits his long life to always having a project to keep him occupied.
“I always keep my hands and my mind busy – I never drank, never smoked, ate modestly and stayed with the one girl all my life,” he says.
His accomplishments include serving with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in Port Moresby and a long career as a bush carpenter.
Bert grew up at Lithgow where he loved fishing, bee-keeping, shooting, hockey and motorbike riding keeping both his mind and body active.
He met future wife Jean at a dance and it only took a ride on his bike and the kind gesture of asking if she was comfortable to start a lifelong romance.
He proposed on Christmas Day, 1938, and the happy pair were married in 1940 at the Presbyterian Church in Lithgow, before enjoying their honeymoon at Manly.
Bert worked as a coal miner and then at a rubber works before joining the RAAF in 1943, where he served up until 1946.
He and Jean went on to have three sons. The family now includes nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren and Bert still enjoys seeing his family and catching up on what they are all doing.
Outside of his work and family commitments, he continued to nurture his other great love – motorbikes.
In honor of this lifelong interest, veteran motorcyclists and members of the BSA Club, Military Brotherhood and Ulysses Motorcycle Club visited Galleon Gardens last year to celebrate Bert’s century.
Bert is a member of Bolton Clarke’s Centenarian Club, celebrating the lives and experiences of centenarian clients and residents.