IT’S not every day you turn 100 years of age so Mavis Wilkins decided to party.
Mrs Wilkins, a resident of the Coastal Waters Aged Care centre at Worrowing Heights for the past four-and-a-half-years, marked her 100th birthday on April 23 with a small but special celebration, helped by staff.
Mrs Wilkins enjoys talking to people, even journalists who just drop in unannounced.
Yes, the obvious question was the first one asked.
“Secret to a long life? I have no secret,” she said.
She is non-smoker, does not over-eat and is a social drinker.
“I do like a glass of wine,” she said.
Mrs Wilkins was born in Newcastle, moved to Lithgow and went to boarding school in Goulburn.
She later married Lieutenant Colonel Sydney Wilkins, who served with the Royal Australian Army in the Middle East during World War II.
Mrs Wilkins said the war years were a bad time but the conflict did bring community members together.
“We waited for the war to end before we had children,” she said.
The couple went onto have two children – Richard, who lives locally, and Robert, who lives in lives in Florida.
“We could not have two better children,” she said.
Robert made sure his yearly visit coincided with his mother’s birthday.
Mrs Wilkins has five grandchildren, four great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.
She has witnessed some momentous events – the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the moon landing among them.
“I would say the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was one of the biggest events I saw and I was there when Captain Francis De Groot cut the ribbon,” she said.
Mrs Wilkins has seen a procession of prime ministers take power.
“My favourite prime minister was Robert Menzies,” she said.
Mrs Wilkins was also an avid traveller and a handy golf player.