Deniliquin’s Rachel Hannah French will celebrate her 100th birthday on Monday.CASS SAVELLIS March 14, 2014 4:33am
Deniliquin’s Rachel Hannah French marks her 100th birthday on Monday.
And, remarkably, as recently as last year the soon-to-be centenarian was still making trips around Australia.
She even managed to beat breast cancer at the age of 89.
‘‘I never thought I’d make it to 100,’’ Mrs French said.
‘‘The years have gone so fast, you wonder where they’ve gone?’’
Mrs French, who has three children — Gordon, Keith and Joy — nine grandchildren and 18 greatgrandchildren, has slowed up in 2014 after a life of travel.
But her family agree she is not one to let age get in the way.
She has travelled around Australia twice, been to New Zealand, and visited Noumea with four generations of women in her family.
‘‘Mum loved travelling,’’ daughter Joy said.
‘‘We’d usually pack up mid year and head off around the country until November.
‘‘One of her best memories was us going on The Ghan, across the Nullarbor, and from to Darwin to Kununurra seven years ago.’’
Mrs French was born in Mathoura, growing up with relatives at Bunnaloo after her mother passed away when she was five.
She recalls walking ‘‘five miles’’ to get to school at Thyra and that the school portable building used to be moved around depending on where the students’ properties were and flood conditions at the time.
Throughout her teenage years she has fond memories of playing tennis, which she enjoyed up until the age of 76.
It was one of her favourite hobbies — ‘‘I’d still be playing now if I could,’’ Mrs French said.
Joy said her mum would also go to community dances in a horse and cart.
‘‘They used to travel with a group of friends, stay in the cart and bring a change of clothes to go to work in the morning!’’
After moving to Melbourne in 1940, Mrs French was employed to make fuses for bombs. She met her husband, Clinton Joffre, and was married in 1941 on Chapel St in South Yarra.
‘‘Our honeymoon was along the Great Ocean Rd, and the in-laws joined us,’’ she said.
‘‘People think that’s pretty unusual, but it worked well.’’
Mrs French relocated to Deniliquin in 1956 where she now lives with her children at their Lawson Syphon Rd property.
‘‘Mum has really enjoyed living on a property - she’s raised lambs, turkeys and calves,’’ Joy said.
‘‘She even used to milk cows and sell their cream for some extra money.
‘She also used to cater for weddings, balls and birthdays, making pavlovas on a wood stove.
‘‘We can remember seeing up to 130 pavlovas stacked all around the house for just one weekend.’’
Mrs French will celebrate with close family and friends this weekend before an open house party on March 22 and 23 at her family’s property.
Contact Joy French on 0458
Two teenage boys have been arrested following a series of traffic incidents in Shepparton last night.
Fine weather and a strong number of athlete registrations will ensure this weekend’s Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival is another huge success.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
The head of the Building Designers Association of Victoria has big plans for the association.
St Joseph’s Primary School students have been preparing their push carts ahead of next month’s KidZcapers.
KCLC supported Southern Processing win award
Members celebrate over the weekend.
Berrigan Shire was this week approved for a low interest loan from the state government to undertake flood mitigation works.
Frank Hill is thrilled with his repaired 1948 grey Fergie.
As weather warms, so does car theft; Cobram police urge drivers to lock parked vehicles.
Deniliquin McDonald's raised more than $1300 for McHappy Day on Saturday.
The latest in stone and pome fruit research and development will be the focus of a forum at the Horticulture Centre of Excellence at Tatura tomorrow, Wednesday, October 22.
Lions Benalla donates $1200 to buy a bar code reader for Lorraine Billman who will soon be able to go shopping without her husband.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.