Winning ways of Winefride

Dianne Dempsey | Bendigo Weekly | 09-Feb-2017


The first thing people want to ask centenarian Winefride Lucy King is what is the secret to her long life?

Mrs King’s response is that she has always walked everywhere (having never driven a car) has never had a drink or smoked but as for swearing, well that’s another story.

According to her attentive son Ted he can only remember one occasion when his mother swore.

“When we were living in Castlemaine, mum was the sole supporter of myself and my brother Kevin and she used to work very hard doing domestic work for the mayor,” he said.

“One day she brought her wages home in a paper packet and put it on the table.

“At one point she was tidying up, gathered up a lot of old papers and threw them all into the wood stove – including those precious wages.

“Mum was well and truly justified swearing on that occasion.”

Mrs King was born at Timor near Maryborough and her father, Peter, worked away from home as a miner.
She was the youngest of seven children and so frail, she was not expected to survive.

Consequently her mother Selina gave her baby Winefride the best of the food to the detriment of the other six siblings.

Hard work was a constant theme in Mrs King’s life. As a young girl she laboured in hosiery factories in Brunswick as a silk winder.

She later moved to Castlemaine where she worked at the woollen mill and later the Alexander Home for the Aged.

She married in 1942 and had two children, Ted and Kevin. The great tragedy of her life was the loss of her son Kevin in a car accident when he was 20.

She says the happiest moment was when she held her grandson Brent in her arms.

Mrs King celebrated her 100th birthday on Wednesday, surrounded by her loving family, friends and staff from Adventcare in Golden Square.


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