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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Happy 107th birthday Mavis!

One of Queensland’s oldest residents, Mavis Radcliffe, is today celebrating her 107th birthday with family at Lutheran Services’ Zion Aged Care in Nundah.

Mavis (nee Wolfgramm) was born in 1917, during one of the worst periods of Australian military history, as World War I raged on the Western Front in France.

According to her birth certificate, she was born in Brisbane on May 18, 1917, but grew up believing her birthday was May 16, so for 107 years has celebrated on that date.

Her daughter, Beverley O’Malley says her mother grew up like many others at the time knowing hardship and few luxuries.

“As the sixth of seven children, the family lived at Petrie Terrace in Brisbane’s inner city with a horse in the backyard,’’ Mrs O’Malley said.

“Mum made many friends at Petrie Terrace School and at the Lutheran Church she attended. Despite being an academic student she left school at 14 to help support her widowed mother and siblings during the Depression.”

A young Mavis.

It was while working in a fish shop in Brisbane’s CBD, she met her future husband, Walter Radcliffe, a plumber.

“They married in 1941 and bought a home in Fairfield where they raised me and my sister Gloria. Much of mum’s life was dedicated to the unpaid role she played as receptionist for the family’s plumbing business that was run from our home.

“In her 50s she enjoyed some prized independence when she achieved her driver’s licence and continued driving well into her 90s.’’

Mrs Radcliffe credits her longevity to her strong German genes, with an uncle reaching 102 and her elder sister living to 97.

“At 107, mum is still able to have a laugh and has always had a keen sense of humour,’’ Mrs O’Malley said.

Mavis in her younger years.

After a fall on her 97th birthday, Mrs Radcliffe moved from the family home where she had been living independently to Zion Aged Care where she has formed many friendships amongst residents and staff.

Zion Aged Care Service Manager, Bell Chung said staff loved helping families celebrate such milestones.

“These birthdays are really something to be marked as an amazing achievement. There’s so much history there and we love to celebrate our beautiful residents,” Ms Chung said.

As well as two daughters, Mrs Radcliffe has five grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

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