HER many friends in the Toora and Welshpool communities, along with family members from South Australia, helped Toora resident Una Camac celebrate her 100th birthday earlier this week.
“I’m not a public person,” said Una, insisting she was not used to all the fuss. Still she was chuffed to receive congratulatory messages from a long list of dignitaries, including the Queen, the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, the Governor of Victoria, the Premier, the Deputy Premier (and Member for Gippsland South, Peter Ryan), South Gippsland Shire Mayor Warren Raabe, and the federal member for McMillan, Russell Broadbent.
Una’s birthday was on Monday – February 20 – but the main celebrations took the form of a Sunday afternoon tea the previous day at Welshpool, where she is a proud member of the Revival Centre International.
The Mirror caught up with her a few days before – and found it hard to believe this bright-eyed, sprightly woman was indeed turning 100!
Una said she was born in South Australia, where she trained and worked as an infant welfare sister before moving to Victoria. She lived and worked in Morwell for 15 or 20 years, but upon her retirement she found it impossible to get anything but a bedsitter in Morwell. A friend recommended Toora, she found a one-bedroom flat – and she has never looked back. Toora has been her home for 24 years.
“It’s beautiful living here. I love the rolling green hills. I have a scooter to take me further than I can walk, a walker, and a walking stick.”
For short distances she can manage without any of them, and she tries to walk every day. She also still reads a lot, collecting “a stack of books” from the mobile library once a month, she goes to hydrotherapy at the nearby Toora Heated Pool, and she occasionally still gardens.
“I’m not meant to do the gardening, in case I fall, but I haven’t had a fall for ages, and I do love getting in the garden – it gets you outside – I just make sure I am very careful!”
The walls of Una’s flat are filled with the colourful artworks she has painted over the years, mainly of the wildlife she loves so much – birds, butterflies and flowers, in particular. Even at 100 she is still painting, but largely confines herself to cards.
She has never been a drinker or a smoker – perhaps her clean living has contributed to her good health. Una herself has no idea how she has reached her century, though with a 96-year-old sister still living in South Australia, perhaps there is something to be said for good genes.
“I came to the Lord in my fifties and He has kept me in good health,” she said. “But as for turning 100, I can’t come to grips with it. I only feel about 50 or 60!”
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