CENTENARIANS are a rare breed, and 99-year-old Lillian Eather is about to join the exclusive club.
Born on October 18, 1917 in Tenterfield, Mrs Eather lived through the First and Second World Wars.
“Times were hard,” Mrs Eather said.
“You had to have all black paper on the windows, you couldn’t let a little bit of light in – and you had to be inside once it became dark because of the Japanese air raids.”
But what she hated most were the coupons.
“You had to make them last,” Mrs Eather said.
Remembering the day WWII ended, Mrs Eather said it was wonderful.
“Everybody was waving around and dancing in the street,” she said.
“All the troops and the army marched through the town.”
Married at 24, Mrs Eather took on three children from her husband’s first marriage, and had three of her own.
“When I look back I think about what a wonderful life they’ve had compared to the kids today,” Mrs Eather said.
“I used to have a verandah with a radiogram on it, the kids would have their friends over and dance while us parents played cards.
“Those were the times when everything was absolutely marvellous.”
Working as a home care nurse, Mrs Eather helped those less able than her until she retired at age 80.
Never having driven a car, she would walk to all of her clients – an active lifestyle she credits her longevity to.
“You have to keep active,” Mrs Eather said.
“I loved my garden, gardening is marvellous for you – wonderful for your health.
“I think you just need to have a bright outlook on life.”
In more than 40 years of marriage, Mrs Eather said she never had a row with her husband.
“One day I said listen, from now on you will be the breadwinner and I’ll be the mother – I’ll be the boss,” she said.
“From that day on he never interfered, it was me who saw to the kids.
“I’ve always just tried to enjoy life I suppose, you just put up with whatever comes up against you.”
The invention of the first wireless radio, the television, the Apollo 11 moon landing and petrol-powered irons are just some of things she remembers.
Washing clothes on a glass board, Mrs Eather was never a stranger to hard work.
“We had a hard life, you had nothing really,” she said.
“But we made our own enjoyment and we were happy, even though we didn’t have anything.
“Hard work never seemed to worry us in those days – well put it this way, you just had to accept it.”
Mrs Eather will celebrate her 100th birthday on October 18 with a birthday party in Armidale, surrounded by family and friends.