……. “Bloody well live it!”
When I arrived to meet Ian, at his nursing home in Berrigan, he was in the main eating area having dinner with the other residents. It was so very quiet, it took me back to when my dad was in a nursing home and bought with it some pangs of sadness. These feelings passed when I met Ian, at 102 years young Ian’s cheeky persona was so impressive. I was sure he was going to have some amazing yarns to spin and he sure didn’t disappoint.
Ian was born and raised in Finley NSW, one of 5 boys. He recalls having a very good upbringing and a wonderful mother (Maggie Dawe). He fondly remembered cooking in the kitchen with his mum and each Monday it was his job to cook dinner for the family. They always had good food, something Ian claims he couldn’t live without. They had lots of veggies and the boys would milk the cows before school or when they got home. Ian and his brothers rode a horse and gig to school and they could keep the horse there in the school yard. Their parents taught them about honesty and humility, he went on to say, “You actually are happy to be levelled with and not try to be someone you are not”.
The most memorable time in Ian’s life was during the War years “I was in the Army & Airforce during World War 2, we were in the cook house mainly, we never battled in the war, but we were there. My only real sad time during my life was when I lost my mum”. I asked Ian if he thought they would meet again and his response was beautiful, “Yes, I think we will meet again and it will be some sunny day”.
Ian’s greatest inspiration in life is ‘hard work’. He worked in 12 hour shifts on the canal channels which provided infrastructure for irrigation from the Murray River. During his working life Ian also worked as a shearer from which he made a good living and proudly told me that “I could shear 200 a day, whatever come through the shed”. When I asked him how he thought those times compare to the Australia of today he told me, “I am proud to be an Australian, a lot of people today have ruined Australia-they won’t work”.
I asked Ian if there was anything in his life he would change if he had it over again to which he replied “Yes, I think I would…. like our mischievous ways we had!”. I said to him “Were you a bit naughty”? Ian laughed and replied “Oh NO…. never”. When I questioned Ian on his secret to a full life he laughed again, and his response was pure gold “Bloody well live it”, something Ian sure has done himself-102 years young and still living life.
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