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Life’s a laugh for Bribie Cove resident George

Centenarian George enjoying a cup of tea

Bribie Cove resident George is a self-professed ‘sunworshipper’, so for him there is no better way to reflect on 100 years of life than sitting on beautiful Bribie Island reminiscing about all the places he has been – and enjoying a good laugh.

At 14, during the Depression years, George was sent on a train from Melbourne to Ipswich to work on a relation’s farm and at 18 he was called up for the Army.

“I jokingly tell people I served overseas and so the next question is “Where?” and my answer is always Tasmania,” George laughs.  

“Don’t tell the truth is my motto, people have heard all of that, you have to pull some legs sometimes and have a bit of fun.”

George served four years in the Army as a trained Army driver based in Port Moresby.

“We were bundle up on a ship in Brisbane and sailed down the Brisbane River which was quite interesting -we saw a submarine come up and escort us all the way to Port Moresby. As an 18 year, full of bones and not much common sense, young and stupid and all the rest of it, it was all amazing to see,” he said.

“My job was to meet the planes when they came into Port Moresby, take fresh troops and supplies out and bring the wounded back.”

“In those days, you did as you were told, when you were told because of course no questions were allowed – you just did your job.”

George was 22 when he came home, where a bad bout of Malaria saw him sent to Sydney for treatment. Once recovered he was given two options, to go to Japan as a driver in the Occupational Forces or take up other duties in Melbourne.

“For some unaccountable reason - and I have always regretted this - I chose to go back to Victoria because I had been away from my family since I left home at 14,” he recalls.

“You win some and lose some – hindsight is always easier.”

Wanting to spend more time outside, George went on to do a brick-laying course, then learnt concrete technology. Later he got his builders license and took up carpentry.

“I was curious to learn how things work. And I found if you keep your mouth shut and your eyes open, it’s surprising what you can learn.”

George also married Zonia, who he affectionately nicknamed Maggie because ‘she talked like a magpie’ and they went on to have four children. They met after the war when the troops landed in Townsville and now, he says there are too many grandchildren and great grandchildren to keep track of!

“It’s funny how life happens – how all the clouds collide and how it works out,” he reflected.

“I always tried to keep myself very fit and I thought if I can make it, then well good stuff, but if I didn’t then bad luck for the world,” he laughs.

“My advice would be that you have to have a sense of humour and a sense of the ridiculous. I don’t take life too seriously; I enjoy pulling people’s legs and that sort of thing.”

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