MAJOR MILESTONE: Phyllis Lee celebrates her 110th birthday with her family. Her children David Lee, Marion Weatherhead and Peter Lee cut the birthday cake.
MAJOR MILESTONE: Phyllis Lee celebrates her 110th birthday with her family. Her children David Lee, Marion Weatherhead and Peter Lee cut the birthday cake. Kim Micke

Oldest living Queenslander celebrates special birthday

STANTHORPE lady Phyllis Lee is one of a kind.

Today, the mother of five celebrates her 110th birthday.

Phyllis, the oldest living Queenslander and the 4th oldest person in Australia, was born on November 3 1907 in Yorkshire, England.

Son David said she was most likely the immigrant who has lived longest in Australia as well as the oldest living war widow.

Phyllis is known throughout Stanthorpe for her cooking and needlework, winning numerous prizes over the years for her creations.

David said his mother has always had a sweet tooth with chocolate being her favourite.

"She was always a good cook," daughter-in-law Judy Lee said.

"She liked using pastry and cream and butter a lot."

Son Peter said the secret to her life might lay in never touching alcohol or cigarettes.

"No alcohol, no smoking," he said.

Daughter-in-law Judy said Phyllis never had a severe sickness.

"She has been very fortunate," she said.

"I can't remember her being in hospital much. Presently, she is on no medication."

 

Phyllis Lee celebrates her 110th birthday with her family. Back: Son David with his wife Judy and son Peter with his wife Jan, front: daughter Marion Weatherhead.
Phyllis Lee celebrates her 110th birthday with her family. Back: Son David with his wife Judy and son Peter with his wife Jan, front: daughter Marion Weatherhead. Kim Micke

In 1909, Phyllis' family, then consisting of her father Robert and mother Gertrude Naylor as well as her three siblings Dorothy, Coulson and Hilda and uncle Tom and aunt Mollie, sailed from England to Brisbane on the S.S. Oswestry Grange.

Ten years later, the family settled in Trentholme at Applethorpe, an orchard of apples, pears, peaches, plums and nectarines.

After attending Applethorpe School, Phyllis worked on the family orchard and conducted domestic work.

Phyllis used to love playing tennis on their court at Trentholme where friends would come to join.

Another of her lifelong interest's was table tennis still challenging others to a game at the age of 102.

Phyllis started to work for Ellen and Samuel Lee at Samuel Lee & Co in 1925 at the age of 18.

Eight years later, when Phyllis was 25, she married their son Wesley on January 27 with whom she enjoyed a fulfilled marriage.

Their honeymoon involved a trip to Undercliffe Falls near Liston camping in a tent for a long weekend.

Living through two World Wars and the Depression, Phyllis was great at "making do" recycling everything she had.

From 1933 to 1947, Phyllis lived in College Rd, Stanthorpe.

The couple then lived on 45 Bridge St, where Wesley died in 1982 at the age of 87.

During her life, son David said, Phyllis loved to travel.

"The last time she travelled, she went to Japan about 25 years ago," he said.

Phyllis once said what made her life special was her large, extended and loving family, the marriage to Wesley with whom she enjoyed many adventures as well as her faith, commitment and involvement with the Christian Church.

Community activities like Meals on Wheels have always been important to her as well as friendships being one of her life's special blessings.

The super-centenarian has five children, 17 grandchildren, 58 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.



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