Marjorie Henry has spent most of her life caring for others, but last week it was her turn to be the centre of attention as she celebrated her 100th birthday.
The Sydenham centenarian was born in the Otways on March 6, 1918, the oldest of five children, and spent her momentous day celebrating with five generations of her family.
Marjorie’s only child, Joan Strawbridge, said her mum had spent most of her life as a serving sister in the priory of the St Johns Ambulance, among other jobs including a seamstress.
“She used to tell us stories about riding a horse to school, and about her family farm that she grew up on,” Ms Strawbridge said.
“She lived in Colac, and then Pascoe Vale, before she started working at 16. She was working on a farm in New Zealand when the war broke out. So her and her first husband came back to Australia on a black-out ship and I was born a couple of years later.
“He left soon after, and she raised me with my grandparents. She’s a very strong woman.”
Marjorie remarried in 1954, and when her second husband died in 1967 she moved in with her daughter. Marjorie moved in with her mother to care for her in her old age, before returning to her daughter, and marrying for a third time.
Watching her family grow to now include three grand children, seven great-grand-children, and one great-great-grandson, she still refuses to call herself old.
“She’s never said that she was old, even when she was in her 80s she just said she was ‘getting old’,” Ms Strawbridge said.
“I asked her if she would be old when she turned 100, she thought about it and just said ‘maybe’.”