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
The community of Girgarre is ready to realise its musical dreams after receiving a $350 000 Victoria Government Small Town Transformation grant.
Three Yarrawonga footballers have excelled at interleague level, representing the Ovens and Murray against Hampden in Warrnambool on Saturday.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
CERES will be moving to a new rhythm on June 10 when Melbourne’s Andrew Swift is joined by the Weeping Willows for a series of performances.
THE Corop Cemetery Trust volunteers are grateful for the volunteer-work from a regional vineyard.
Kyabram Football Club will host a family day next weekend.
Where there’s a Will, there’s a way
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
RENEWAL works have resumed on the Coliban Main Channel this month.
For most 10-year-olds, mischievous isn’t a word often found in their vocabulary, let alone having the ability to spell it correctly. But for Cobram Anglican Grammar Year 5 student Cadence Pang, it’s all in a day’s work.
Local owners stoked with horses success.
A Melbourne academic has some tough things to say about dairy, and Country News editor, Geoff Adams has a few responses.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
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.