CARMEL Newman celebrated her 100th birthday last Friday surrounded by family and friends, who said the centenarian remained as “sharp as a tack’ and very much engaged in life.
In a century that has seen two World Wars, the landing of men on the moon and myriad world-shaping events, Mrs Newman puts her longevity down to the fact that she has never over-eaten and has refrained from smoking and drinking all her life – apart from the occasional cold beer on a summer’s day.
The Mercy Mandurah resident was born and raised in Kalgoorlie, where she attended St Joseph’s Convent in Boulder, as well as Collie Convent when she was 15 to learn shorthand and typing.
She married her husband, Harry – who she met while ballroom dancing in Kalgoorlie – two weeks before World War II broke out, and although he went to join up, an eye problem meant that he never saw active service and instead contributed to the war effort as a fitter and turner.
Mrs Newman’s twin brother was not so fortunate and never returned from New Guinea, where he died aged just 24 on the Kokoda track.
“Visiting Bernard’s grave in New Guinea was a highlight of my life,” Mrs Newman, who went on to have six children, said.
“Dancing has also been a real joy for me and I danced right up until I was in my 70s,
“Harry was a lovely dancer as well as a musician – music and dance formed a large part of our lives.”