IT WAS the event of a century for Jessie Davys on October 1, when the Theodore local of more than 70 years turned 100.
Jessie was born Jessie Louisa Nickless at Hay, New South Wales, on October 1, 1916, and was the third of four children to Enoch and Helen Nickless.
She never went to school, although did do correspondence for a short while with a travelling teacher, and spent most of her time as a child in hardship – with droughts, limited money, depressions and wars.
Jessie tells of times when they would pull the wool off dead sheep to make some money.
It was in 1936 that Jessie married Cecil Davys, and two years later she gave birth to their only child, Grace Lorraine.
After winning the ballot for Gonyelinka, Theodore, they packed up and headed north – only to find that the only infrastructure on the block was a tank and windmill.
Jessie’s granddaughter Traci Atfield said her grandmother had always been a strong, capable woman with a heart of gold.
“From when I was a kid I probably remember the mustering, they used to run Hereford out there, only Herefords,” Ms Atfield said.
“Grandad used to muster in the car, grandma on foot, and as kids we used to just be out there helping.”
She said Jessie had always had a love for all animals and for her gardens, which were a source of great pride for her.
Now, 100-year-old Jessie has two grandchildren, Traci and Paul Atfield, and four great-grandchildren, Tom, Eric, Madyson and Jenna Atfield.
Work for Jessie and Cecil revolved around beef cattle and developing their property. They also had a successful market garden and were renowned for their vegetables.
They would barter with the neighbours and others for meat and other commodities.
When Grace was old enough for school they tried correspondence but the mail was too erratic; so she was sent to boarding school when she was only eight years old.
Jessie lived on the property until 1995, when her grandson Paul was married and he and his wife took over. She lived with her daughter Grace for a short time before moving into the Dawson View retirement units in Theodore in 2000.
Ms Atfield said the birthday celebrations were a great thrill for the family.