At 103, Bolton Clarke Fairview, Pinjarra Hills resident Kittie credits her long life to always keeping busy, a healthy diet and plenty of time outdoors in the garden – particularly with the orchids she loves.
“People always give me their orchids which they think have died – but they haven’t, they’re just sleeping. I know how to wake them up again, they’re the most beautiful flower,” she says.
“I have always had a bit of a green thumb and loved gardening – nowadays I can’t bend down very far but I do like to keep watering them and making sure they are blooming.”
Kittie was born in New South Wales before her family moved to a sheep farm in Roma, in western Queensland, with her four sisters and one brother.
“Life was wonderful on the farm, I enjoyed it so much. We were very cut off from everything and even had to do school by correspondence,” she says.
“Living so far north I loved swimming and if I could today I would jump straight back into a pool. We also played tennis and cricket plus kept ourselves busy watching the farm animals.”
After school she became a nurse and worked in Papua New Guinea, where she met her husband Alan.
She continued nursing in New Guinea during World War II, working through the invasion of the Australian-administered territories.
Kittie recalls one night when Australian troops were attacked, but the enemy was unsuccessful. The next night they had a huge party to celebrate.
Once the war was over, she moved back to Australia with her husband and they raised three children together.
She moved to Wavell Heights in Brisbane and began nursing again, doing mostly training – she tells how young nurses were so excited to be trained by a woman who had served overseas and hung on her every word.
Kittie started her life at Fairview in the Retirement Village before moving into the Residential Aged Care community.
“I have a wonderful life here, I really don’t have a care in the world – there is plenty to do and I keep myself busy,” she says.
Kittie turned 103 on 9 February, 2019.