AFTER 99 birthdays, Freda Priestley can’t think of a gift she’d like for her centenary more than the presence of her family.
“I don’t want a fuss,” Mrs Priestley said.
“I love my family, they’re very important to me.
“They’re all very good to me, none of them have turned me down and we’ve had no arguments or fights.”
Mrs Priestley will celebrate her milestone at a Saturday barbecue with many of four children, 11 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and 10 great great grandchildren.
“I haven’t had time to think about it yet,” she said.
“I feel sore today so sometimes I do feel 100!
“I’m hoping all the aches and pains go away so I can enjoy things.
“I never thought I’d get here. I feel very lucky.”
Mrs Priestley was born on October 13, 1918, in the Teralba house she still calls home, the fourth of five children to a coal miner father and English migrant mother.
Her name was inspired by the freedom that awaited at the impending end of World War I.
She attended Teralba Public and said her childhood was spent swimming in Cockle Creek and playing sport.
“It was not as flash back then as what they have today,” she said.
“It was harder.
“But we were happy with what we had and what we got.
“I had a good mother and good father and lots of aunties and uncles.”
She developed a love for baking and sweet treats while still at primary school, placing second only to her mother in a sponge cake contest.
She would later be known for her homemade ice cream, often featuring fruits from her backyard passionfruit vine, and her gramma pies.
“My Dad was very strict and I wasn’t allowed out to play with boys,” she said.
“I wasn’t allowed to go into bars but eventually I talked him into being able to go and work at some.
“I’ve only had one glass of beer and one cigarette in my life and that’s the truth.
“When my father caught me with the cigarette in my hand he nearly killed me. I wasn’t a bad girl.”
She worked behind the bar in Teralba and Cardiff venues, where she met her husband Charlie, who died in 2007.
The couple had children, Leonard, Josephine, Neville and Kevin and later bought a caravan to travel across Australia.
They also attended the Melbourne Cup.
Mrs Priestley said the key to longevity was eating well – although her daily diet includes tea and cake and a Paddlepop for dessert – working hard and keeping busy.
She still vacuums, makes her bed, folds her washing, offers to do the dishes and is sometimes caught taking clothes in from the line, or rearranging her wardrobe late at night.
“Anything that keeps you going,” she said.
“If you sit on your bottom doing nothing you won’t last for too long.
“I don’t like sitting there, that’s why I get up and get into trouble.”