Great-gran turns 100 on Valentine's Day

WYN McNee never gave much thought to Valentine’s Day, which happens to be her birthday, except Thursday, her 100th. She’s thought about that a lot.

‘‘It sort of came suddenly, lately,’’ Mrs McNee said.

Cards from the Queen, Prime Minister and Opposition Leader adorn her room at Fig Tree Point aged-care facility, in Toronto.

She has lived through 23 prime ministers, and many more opposition leaders.

Mrs McNee spent her early childhood in London’s Finchley Orphanage under Barnardos.

Those memories form the distant rim of her existence, but some are sharp, like going to a pantomime, and learning the identity of her mother at 11.

‘‘It was all very secret,’’ said the great-grandmother of six, and grandmother of five, including The Bride Stripped Bare author Nikki Gemmell.

Under the child migration policies of the time she was re-settled in Albany.

As she got older, Mrs McNee worked as a jillaroo on the western plains and, years later, lived across the continent.

A Sydney newspaper story from the 1980s named her the city’s ‘‘first woman in 20 years to be issued with a lift driver’s licence’’. 

She has married twice, the second time to her late, beloved Mac at 57. 

Mrs McNee still talks about ups and downs. She underwent hip replacement surgery a few years ago and says, ‘‘you can’t win them all’’.

‘‘I’ve had my downs, but who hasn’t?’’ she said.

‘‘You take the good with the bad.’’

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