Great-great-gran hits 100 on Harley
WHEN Ivy Myrtle Reepsdorff was born in Maryborough on October 3, 1916, her father remarked she was "a very pretty little baby”.
She would remain petite but her size belied a mighty courage.
"People ask mum what her secret is,” daughter Verna Connelly said.
"She drinks lots of tea - but most of all, I think it's her positive attitude and her ability to cope with everything life has thrown at her. She's very strong and resilient.”
Ivy celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends this month, the first in her family to reach the milestone.
To celebrate she took a ride on a Harley Davidson with her grandson, before being treated to a stretch limousine ride and red carpet welcome at a respite centre, where they planted an olive tree and erected a bench with a plaque in her honour.
She spent more than 90 years of her life in Childers, where her family moved soon after she was born.
When she was 9, her mother died in childbirth and the family moved in with an aunt, in a household of ten children.
"They all slept together in beds,” Verna said.
"Her sister died of pneumonia in the bed they were sharing. She often talks about that.”
Ivy met Vic Nowitzke when she was 17.
They became engaged that same year when she was 18, married at 19 and Verna's brother Don was born a year after that, followed by Beth and then Verna ten years later.
"Sadly Don passed away on his 15th birthday, of complications from a snake bite,” Verna said.
The family ran a sugarcane farm in Childers where Ivy would spend all day stripping cane before cooking dinner at night.
Ivy nursed Vic for two years until he died in 1980.
"Mum has been on her own since 1980 and has carried on with a stubborn determination,” Verna said.
"She has travelled extensively throughout Australia and has also been to New Zealand and Norfolk Island.
Ivy has five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren and another great-grandchild on the way.
She still lives in her own house in Burrum Heads, "looks after herself, loves doing puzzles, loves cooking, keeps up with current affairs, has a very positive attitude to life and takes enormous pride in her family's achievements”, Verna said.
"For a little lady, she plays a big part in our lives.”