Kate has 99 reasons to celebrate

By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.com.au

KATE Wright, who celebrates her 99th birthday today, believes her longevity is a matter of luck.

She is right if being born in a family of people who live long is luck.

"Most of my family lived into their 70s and 80s,'' she said. Kate was born at home in 1906 (there were no hospitals in Gladstone then) and was the second-youngest of 13 children.

She is the only survivor.

"The last one to die was one of my sisters ? she was 98,'' she said.

Kate left school at 14, as most children did back then, and as her mother and siblings all worked (her father was a drover and was often away from home) she looked after the family.

At the age of 20, during the Great Depression, she married Harold Wright and moved away from home to live with him in Calliope.

Later they moved back to Gladstone and Harold worked for the Shell company.

"Gladstone has changed a lot since those early days,'' she said.

"When I was 16 and we were living in Goondoon Street down from the Catholic Church, we used to ride our bikes to where Bonneys shops were (now IGA Shopping Centre) and it was just bush then.''

Kate said she had never worked and was content to be a housewife. She and Harold raised two children, Noel and Valery.

Harold died in 1986 at the age of 84. She said she enjoyed sport and kept active by playing netball and tennis.

She also continued to play lawn bowls and indoor bowls until she was too old to continue.

"One of the most thrilling things for me was to ride a Harley Davidson bike for the first time ever on my 96th birthday.''

Kate didn't say what she would get up to this birthday, but she claims it will be a quiet one at home at Hibiscus Gardens.

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