Murray Bridge’s Kathleen Byass celebrates her 105th birthday
The Resthaven resident and retired teacher was born in 1917.
On Tuesday, August 2, Resthaven Murray Bridge resident Kathleen Byass has celebrated her 105th birthday.
Mrs Byass was born at Moonta on August 2, 1917, shortly after her twin brother, and was the only daughter of Abraham and Gladys Pedler.
A self-confessed “real tomboy”, she grew up in a family of five brothers.
In 1922, the family moved from Agery on Yorke Peninsula to Yantanaby on the Eyre Peninsula, as pioneer farmers.
The family farmed sheep, cattle and crops, and her brothers helped their father with all the jobs around the farm.
In those days, there was no electricity, and there were no tractors.
When the first car arrived in the late 1920s, Mrs Byass said it was a “godsend, after the horse and buggy”.
As the children grew older, Mrs Byass’ eldest brother – who played saxophone in a band – would take her along to balls, weddings and birthday parties, where everyone enjoyed dancing and singing.
One of Mrs Byass’ first jobs was as a secretary at Streaky Bay.
She then moved to Adelaide, where she worked in the office of the Arcadia Café on King William Street.
This is where she met her late husband, Les Byass of Mount Gambier.
He invited her to lunch, and by 1940 the couple were married.
They began their life together at Darke Peak on the Eyre Peninsula, where Mr Byass had taken a teaching position.
Their first son was born in 1941, and their second in 1947 in Warrnambool.
In 1956 they moved to Woods Point, by which time Mrs Byass had also become a teacher.
She remembers the 1956 River Murray flood, and watching the breaching of the river banks from Woods Point with the schoolchildren.
In 1962 the family moved to Payneham; their last teaching positions prior to their retirement were at the Klemzig Primary School.
Mrs Byass now has six grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.
“I always enjoy seeing the families,” Mrs Byass said.
“Sometimes I see them and they’re so small; the next time, they’re all grown up!
Mrs Byass still enjoys regular visits from her family, who often take her for a walk in her wheelchair or to sit outside, weather permitting.
She continues to enjoy music and watching ballroom dancers when they perform at Resthaven.
As a resident of the nursing home for 10 years, Mrs Byass said she was quite happy there: “the staff are always popping in and out to look after me and have a chat”.
Asked if she had any words of wisdom, Mrs Byass said, “just enjoy what comes to you”.
Residents and staff wished her many happy returns on the wonderful milestone.
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