Erla Irving celebrates 100 years in fine style

Erla Irving celebrates 100th birthday in fine style


Life & Style
Erla Irving is surrounded by bunches of flowers everywhere in her unit. Pictures: Helen Walker

Erla Irving is surrounded by bunches of flowers everywhere in her unit. Pictures: Helen Walker

Aa

A series of celebrations marked Erla Irving's 100th birthday.

Aa

'Salt of the earth' western Queenslander Erla Irving has enjoyed a busy time celebrating her 100th birthday in Toowoomba. 

Mrs Irving turned 100 on Sunday, March 31, and has been celebrating with family and friends for the past week or so. 

"I am quite awe struck really," she said modestly at her unit at Palm Lake Resort Retirement Village. 

One of the highlights of her many celebrations was a morning tea at Palm Lake Resort, where they organised a ride around the village in the side car of a motor bike. 

"They arranged this with another resident who has a motor bike and a side car," she said. 

"Although I have ridden on a motor bike I had never been in a side car and it was lots of fun."

Other celebrations included morning teas, lunches, a birthday party, and dinners. Mrs Irving also opened her home and hosted many family and friends to 'open house'.  

To add to her occasion she received a birthday card from Queen Elizabeth II which arrived in the mail a couple of days before her birthday.  

Era Irving also received dozens of birthday cards including one from Queen Elizabeth II.

Era Irving also received dozens of birthday cards including one from Queen Elizabeth II.

"I was delighted to receive her card, as I think the Queen is a wonderful lady who has not had it easy," Mrs Irving said. 

Mrs Irving was born in Denman in the Hunter Valley, NSW, and schooled in Sydney.   

She married her husband Jim in Sydney in 1943 and moved to Halton, near Charleville, in 1945.

"I fell in love with the bush and as I was married with a small daughter I was determined that I was going to love it," she said.

From there the couple with their two children Anne and Sandy moved to Sterling Downs at Tambo for seven years. 

"Jim won a land ballot which was country resumed from Lango Downs, and we named it Barwhinnock after the Irving Estate in Scotland," she said. 

She moved to Charleville when her husband Jim fell ill in 1986. Jim died in April 1987, after a successful marriage spanning 44 years. 

When Mrs Irving moved to Charleville, her daughter Anne and husband, the late Bill Bredhauer, took over the management of Barwhinnock.

I fell in love with the bush and as I was married with a small daughter I was determined that I was going to love it

"I had been looking forward to celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary as it would have been a wonderful excuse for a party, but it was not to be." 

Mrs Irving then remained in Charleville for the next 28 years where she continued to be active in the community.

She has been a member of QCWA for 40 years, including serving as a vice-president and treasurer.

She was also treasurer of Meals on Wheels in Charleville.

"I really was never president material, but I enjoyed both roles as treasurer, as I loved the bookwork," she said.

She moved to Palm Lake Resort nearly seven years ago. 

Over the years life has thrown me some grief, but who lives to 100 years with a hiccup or two

More recently she has kept active knitting clothes for premature babies. 

"It is really hard to buy very small clothes for these babies, so when I finish them I post them to the Mater Mothers' Hospital in Brisbane," Mrs Irving said.  

Mrs Irving plans to stay in her unit and and live independently for as long as she can. 

"One of the reasons I have lived as long as I have is because of my faith and I don't stress," she said.

"Stress really shortens people's lives, I think.

"I am a great believer in your attitude towards circumstance - it is the way you react to these circumstances. 

"Over the years life has thrown me some grief, but who lives to 100 years with a hiccup or two."

She reflected sadly when mentioning the loved-ones she had lost in life including husband Jim and her 24-year-old son Sandy in a car accident.

"There has also been much sadness in losing my son-in-law Bill, and my grandson Chris." 

Despite these heart breaking loses Mrs Irving said she's had a wonderful life with great family and friends and feels very blessed.

She delights in her daughter Anne, two grandsons James and Bob, and a granddaughter Amanda.

"Between them my grandchildren have gifted me 11 great grandchildren."

Mrs Irving said she enjoys a sherry every night before dinner, "and now if I want to have two a night I will".

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by