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Thursday, 17 June 2010
Page: 5802


Mrs MAY (4:40 PM) —Today I would like to place on record my congratulations to four of my constituents who have reached some very special milestones. Mrs Eileen Caton celebrated her 100th birthday in April. Mrs Ivy Maynard celebrated her 100th birthday in April. Mrs Mabel Watson celebrated her 105th birthday in May. Mr Frank Malcolm Gray will be celebrating his 100th birthday on 9 July, but also celebrated with Marcia, his wife, their 70th wedding anniversary in April. I would just like to put on the record a little bit about each of these people, because I have found it really interesting to read about them and their contributions to their communities.

Mrs Caton was born in Longreach on 18 April 1910 and, after completing her education, she joined the Qantas office in Longreach. She was only the second female on staff at Qantas when she joined the Longreach office in August 1928 and was employee No. 73. Her name is on the honour roll in the Qantas Founders Museum. Her son, Michael Caton, who I think we all know very well, is the commentator on the documentary at the Qantas Founders Museum.

Eileen left Qantas in 1931 and returned to Longreach to be married to her sweetheart, Septimus Caton. She and Sep were married on 19 July 1933 and they had three children, Beverley, Robyn, and Michael. Her husband, Sep, had been working with steam engines but, with these engines being phased out, he began studying as a refrigeration engineer. The family moved on to Biloela and unfortunately he was killed in a tragic work accident in 1945, and Eileen, left a widow, raised their three young children.

Mr Speaker, you might be interested to know that, apart from her love of her family and the raising of three children, Eileen was actually a very active member of the Australian Labor Party in Brisbane for a great number of years, before she relocated to the Gold Coast when she turned 90. She is currently living in an aged-care facility at Burleigh Waters in my electorate.

Mrs Ivy Maynard was born in April 1910 in Ballarat in country Victoria. She describes herself as an ‘ordinary student’ at school who enjoyed playing basketball and going in running races. She left school at 14 and went to work as a shop assistant in a furniture shop. She married, had two boys, took up lawn bowls and was a champion player. Currently, she spends time at the Kirrahaven Aged Care Facility, where she lives. She is a very popular member of that aged-care facility and loves the get-togethers that happen down there.

Mabel Watson was born in Scotland on 25 May 1905. She was the second last daughter born—her sister died in infancy. Her earliest memories include sliding down the hill in winter when she and her siblings were taken on a toboggan track in the snow, and being taken to see the king and queen, George and Mary, when they arrived by train in 1913 in Scotland. She came to Australia in 1922 by boat. She fell in love with ship travel and had her last cruise at the age of 94. She married Charlie Watson and they came to Australia for a better life and raised their three sons here. All of them were members of the Kirra Surf Lifesaving Club, which is also in my electorate. Mabel was Secretary of the Coolangatta State School Mothers’ Committee and a long-serving office-bearer of the Coolangatta CWA and the South Coast Women’s Organisation.

Mr Frank Malcolm Gray comes from a long line of Australians. His great grandfather, Samuel Gray, arrived in Adelaide at the age of 18. During his childhood years, Malcolm enjoyed constructing radios, or crystal sets as they were called then. His first job was as a draftsman in the Lands Department in Adelaide and then he applied for a vacancy as a draftsmen in Fiji, with the British government. Mr Speaker, Fiji is a place that I know very well; that is where I was born. Malcolm and Marcia celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this year and, in July, Malcolm will celebrate his 100th birthday. I think each and every one of those milestones, Mr Speaker, you would agree, is a special milestone.

When you look at what these people have achieved in their lives, along with raising their families and contributing to their local communities, you see a little of the history of Australia and the important role that they have played in it.