Shoalhaven resident blows out 101 candles

BIRTHDAY WISHES: Dora Fagan attributes her long and healthy life to some strong ancestry. The 101-year-old celebrated with cake, friends and family this week. Photo: Rebecca Fist.

BIRTHDAY WISHES: Dora Fagan attributes her long and healthy life to some strong ancestry. The 101-year-old celebrated with cake, friends and family this week. Photo: Rebecca Fist.

If you want to live to 101, you might want to lay off the daily coffees. 

Dora Fagan celebrated her 101st birthday on Wednesday, September 20 at Opal Shoalhaven. 

The birthday girl has never touched alcohol, smoked, or downed a tea or coffee in her life. Along with a few good genes, she said that’s what’s helped her blow out 101 candles. 

“All my ancestors lived over 100 too,” Dora said. 

“My parents were Norwegian, Swedish, German and French – so what do you expect?”

Dora said she was fortunate to receive many cards and well wishes for her birthday, including some from friends she’s known for 68 years. 

Many of her friends are in their 80s and still visit her regularly. 

Dora’s mother, who had five children, passed many pieces of wisdom on. 

“My mum always said ‘every should have friends’ and I believe that you should be kind to people like my mother taught us. My mum said ‘health is your wealth, work for what you need, not for what you want and be kind to people, even if they’re poor or rich, because they all get sick’.”

Dora was once married and has one son, who lives at Shoalhaven Heads. 

“All my ancestors lived over 100 too. My parents were Norwegian, Swedish, German and French – so what do you expect?” - Dora Fagan

She’s very proud of his achievements, including his Queen’s Honours for his judo teachings. He’s the 10th ranked judo athlete in the world. 

When she looks back on her life, she said she’s most proud of making a home for herself and raising her son. 

Her favourite job was delivering mail via horseback. 

“I think the loveliest position I was ever asked to do was for my cousin who took ill. He had a mail run and he had to ride a horse 20 miles a day for six days a week,” she said. 

“He asked me whether I’d do it. I was about 30 at the time and I think I rode 4080 miles in 11 months and it was the most beautiful job I ever had because I had to go all over the big hills and valleys. It was lovely, I was so healthy, and I was out there rain, hail or shine.”

Dora said she’s always been an “outdoors person” and enjoyed many sports, including tennis. 

She can still walk and up was cooking for herself until recently. 

“I was 100 years old and still cooking but after that they thought I might need some help,” she said. 

Dora celebrated her birthday surrounded by her family and friends and passed on some wise words. 

“I think the only university you should go to in life is life itself. If you don’t teach yourself how to look after yourself you’re not learning anything,” she said. 

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