100 reasons to celebrate for local Centenarian
She has travelled the world but Cairns has always been home for Bolton Clarke Farnorha residential aged care’s newest centenarian Audrey, who holds a lot of fond memories and treasured history in the Far North.
Born in Cloncurry the eldest of eight children, Audrey moved to Cairns with her family in the 1930s. Her family lived in a house built by her Father on Kamerunga Road at Stratford. He even built his own merry-go-round, which was kept on the vacant lot next door, and brought the children hours of entertainment!
After attending Freshwater State School, Audrey went to work for the Allied Works Council in town during World War II. It was during this time that she met her husband of over 60 years Henry, who was serving in the Navy and stationed near Trinity Beach.
Married in 1944, Audrey and her husband lived a full life, starting with nights spent dancing at Boyd’s Hall, which still stands in Stratford.
Together they visited Europe, America, Canada and New Zealand. Perhaps the most notable trip they took was their bus tour from New Delhi to London, which took the Kyhber Pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Audrey’s son Warren recalls stories Audrey would tell of their experiences on this dangerous journey.
“She used to tell us that every time they came to a passport check point, they had to get out of the bus to show their passports. Sometimes they would be made to get on the ground, and sometimes the guards would go through their luggage,” he said.
“Otherwise, they’d look at your passport and tell you to get back on the bus and wish you good luck.”
Another adventure that Audrey faced was welcoming twin boys into the world - a big surprise for the whole family.
“When Mum had my brother Warwick, she thought it was all over until the doctor said, ‘no, there’s one more still to come.’ That’s the moment she found out she was having twins,” he said.
“Dad was away at War at the time, so he didn’t even know Mum had had the baby, let alone that there were twins, for some weeks after we were born.”
In 1969, after the birth of their third son, Audrey and her family relocated to Townsville for work. This is where they stayed until retirement, but Audrey always wanted to come home to Cairns. It was that wish which brought her to the Farnorha residential aged care community.
Audrey still attends church at Farnorha and enjoys visits from church volunteers, along with interacting with the visiting kindergarten children and going out on the bus. She keeps herself organised with her notebook and is never too far away from those memories she made over the last 100 years.