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Fighting fit grandma celebrates 105th birthday

Marjorie and her children in about 1940.
Marjorie and her children in about 1940. Contributed

MARJORIE Elizabeth Lucy Bostock effortlessly swings her arms down and touches her toes then playfully shapes up in a boxer's stance.

Mrs Bostock, whose family insisted her whole name had to be used, has made a habit of outlandish ways of marking her birthday.

When she turned 100, she went for a ride in a horse and buggy and last year she cracked a whip. See for yourself by searching for 104-year-old grandma cracks a whip on YouTube.

Marjorie Elizabeth Lucy Bostock is no ordinary 105-year-old. In fact, she's not ordinary at all; ornery maybe but definitely not ordinary.

By all reports, she's the oldest person in Ipswich still living in their own home and the second-oldest in the city. Brassall Village resident Eva Schmidt is about a month older than Marjorie.

"When she is asked the secret of a long life she always said: 'Hard work and all the things that'd kill you today'," granddaughter Carol Bostock says.

"I think she's lived a long time because people of her era the war toughened them up,"

"And the lack of chemicals and preservatives in food. Everything was home grown. She always eats the fat on her meat and white bread.

"All the things they tell you: 'Don't eat salt' - well they lived on corned meat and drank tea and coffee you could stand the spoon up in.

"But very stubborn; tough. I think that came from the war. Don't feel sorry for yourself."

But we quickly found that doesn't mean she's boring when the QT went to her Willowbank home.

"Do you want a kiss?" she asked as we walked into the room.

"There you are. It's lovely for you to come along and see me."

Carol says Marjorie's short-term memory is no good but the long-term is okay.

Marjorie said: "I'm a bit hard of hearing now. I miss a lot of conversation because of my hearing but I probably do all right missing it."

Surveying a table full of letters from the Queen and politicians she says: "This is very nice isn't it? It's very nice to think I can live as long as I am (she pauses for comic effect) and people can waste their time writing to me."

Carol says: "We'll have to frame that one; she's got some great sayings."

Someone mentions her touching her toes on her 100th birthday for Paul Pisasale and she chirrups: "Do you want to see me touch me toes?"

On the way to doing it someone reminds her it's her birthday.

"I'll have to get drunk will I?" she said cheekily.

Another granddaughter, Rhonda Bostock, said when Marjorie turned 100 she asked her for one piece of advice.

"She said: 'Enjoy life while you still can. Have fun while you still can; while you're still young enough to do it', " Rhonda said.

Marjorie Bostock nee Lilley was born in Mt Morgan and was brought up on a dairy farm.

"I learned my tables and spelling while I was milking the cows - six eights are 48, nine nines are 81," she says quickly, mimicking milking a cow by hand.

"That was every day before I went to school. And then I had to ride a horse on a folded sack-bag; none of this saddle business. I can't think how far; about five miles into school and I was always late."

Marjorie and her husband Charlie, a RAAF aircraft mechanic, came to Ipswich in the war years and Marjorie bought land at Ebbw Vale.

HAPPY DAY: A photo from Marjorie’s wedding to husband Charles Dundee Bostock.
HAPPY DAY: A photo from Marjorie’s wedding to husband Charles Dundee Bostock. Contributed

Carol said she only sold it three or four years ago to buy her place at Willowbank.

"I live down the dirt road and we had to have her closer to me to keep an eye on things," Carol said.

"There's always someone around but she cares for herself. We don't let her near the stove because she forgets to turn it off."

Summoning an actress's diction, Marjorie declares: "I was never just sitting at home thinkin' of who was at the war. I was on the job every day of my life.

"My husband came and he said to me: 'I enlisted today. I go tomorrow morning early'. And I said: 'Christ almighty, how do you go that bloody quick?' "

Describing her grandma as a gypsy spirit, Carol says to her: "You've never liked to live alone; you've always gallivanted.

"She'd be up north with the rellies and out of the blue you'd get this message saying, 'It's grandma, can you pick me up from Roma St station?' " Carol said.

"She's been all around Australia; she's been everywhere."

"She's always been adventuresome; she's done a lot of things."

Carol said when she was in her 80s, Marjorie had an accident at home and the paramedics went to get all her medication and she didn't have any.

"She said: 'Am I meant to have pills am I?' Even now she has half a tablet for her blood pressure," Carol said.

"When she was in hospital we thought we'd lost her and she's laying there and all of a sudden she says, 'I haven't given enough trouble yet' and she got up and walked out of the hospital'. "

As we're leaving, Marjorie follows us out to the front door and she calls out: "Come back any time for a cup of tea."

We will.

Same time next year.

Birthday wishes for Marjorie Elizabeth Lucy Bostock.
Birthday wishes for Marjorie Elizabeth Lucy Bostock. Sarah Harvey


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