Evelyn marks a century

Ms Peterson with her whole family at her birthday party.

By Brendan Rees

Narre Warren resident Evelyn Winifred Peterson has celebrated her 100th birthday with a wealth of family and friends.

Born on 18 November 1919 at home in Kyabram, with help from a local midwife, Ms Peterson worked as a nurse at the Rural Kyabram Hospital.

She married her husband Norm in December 1941 after his family moved to Kyabram from Melbourne.

“As they were ‘townies’ they didn’t know what to do on a farm therefore spent every night or two at our house,” Ms Peterson said. “I became very close to Norm. He eventually asked me to be his”.

They had six children: twins Darryl and Margaret, Graeme, David and twins Lorraine and Rosie.

They lived in Kyabram until moving to Gigarre East, then moved on to Harkawary in 1956, until settling in Narre Warren in 1966 – the year the currency changed. She has now lived in Narre Warren for 53 years.

Before Norm died in 2004, they had been married for 63 years. During their life together, Norm was a soldier in World War II, and Ms Peterson was a mother and farmer, even milking cows while in labour with their twins Rosie and Lorraine.

She said the secret to a marriage was “endeavouring to make the other person happy.”

Ms Peterson was part of the Country Women’s Association, the Narre Warren North church (30 years), and Berwick Presbyterian Church until finally settling at Narre Warren/Webb Street Church.

She and her eldest daughter Margaret were among the first volunteers at Webb St church who set up the Transit Soup Kitchen. Ms Peterson only retired from transit a couple of years ago.

Ms Peterson has 14 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and seven great-great grandchildren with another two due in early and late March 2020.

When asked what her secret is to a long life, she says: “I was given a healthy body and looked after it. I never smoked or drank. I once had wine as part of a communion in church and was couldn’t wait to get home for a cup of tea.”

Ms Peterson says she enjoys eating one piece of toast with marmalade or jam for breakfast with “a good knife full of butter, I do it properly”

She also lives by the quote: “To know what’s right and live it” and her regrets in life are ones “I forgot to do.”

“I wish I had looked after my mother and father but I was busy raising children and working,” she said.

Ms Peterson says she tries not to think about death.

“If I think about it I think I don’t know what’s going to be like but in the Bible St Paul says it’s good here but better once you’re gone. Fear not; just trust the lord. That is what I believe. When it comes to that time I will just say I will not be afraid as the lord has said fear not”.