Myrtle Thomson turned 104 last week.
Myrtle Thomson turned 104 last week. Rob Williams

Myrtle dreams of dance at 104-years old

MYRTLE Thomson might not be able to do two of her favourite things anymore but that doesn't stop her from taking every new day with a smile on her face.

The Nowlanvil Aged Care Facility resident celebrated her 104th birthday surrounded by family earlier this month.

She recalls dancing away every Friday night in Booval, where she met her late husband James, and she shared a strong passion for lawn bowls with her spouse.

They had two sons and Myrtle now dotes over six grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

It is hard for her to wipe the grin off of her face as she recalls the many happy memories of her time spent in Ipswich, where she has lived for the majority of her life.

"I suppose I'm getting a bit old,” Myrtle laughed.

"I can't play (bowls) anymore. I couldn't bend.”

As a 16-year-old, she started working at the historic Prince Alfred Hotel, first as a cook and then on the bar as she got older.

It was interesting work and there was no shortage of punters pulling up a stool and spinning a yarn to keep her on her toes.

"You had all different sorts come sit and talk to you,” she said.

But things could turn sour at the tip of a hat and someone flipping a glass upside down on to the bar would signal one customer challenging another to a fight.

"One bloke did that once and they went from one side of the bar to the other side,” she said. "Never turn a glass upside down in a bar.”

One Friday night after the music stopped playing and revellers started heading for the doors, Myrtle was approached by a coal miner.

He walked her home to her room at the PA Hotel and the rest was history.

"Oh I love it. I loved to dance every Friday night,” she reminisced. "They were lovely.

"The boys used to all come from the country down to the dances. It started with a little concertina and they got a better band to come and play.”

They were wed when she was 22 and she gave up her role at the hotel, returning only when there was no one else to take the shift.

Upon James's retirement, the couple moved to Southport for a change of scenery but Myrtle returned to Ipswich, the place of her birth, after he passed away.

She said she had no regrets and believed everyone should live life on their own terms.



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