Mypolonga’s Lorna Grundy celebrates her 101st birthday
From the Mid North to the Murraylands, the well-travelled mother of five has led a busy life.
This post was originally published behind Murray Bridge News’ paywall. Paywalled posts are unlocked four weeks after publication. Can’t wait that long? Subscribe here.
Mypolonga local Lorna Grundy has reached the ripe old age of 101.
Ms Grundy celebrated her birthday on July 27 with a cake at home, and spent the weekend with her children.
However, it wasn’t always mighty Mypo for Ms Grundy.
Born at Gladstone in 1921, Lorna Pearce was the third child of five to farmers Ernest and Lorna Pearce, nee Doley.
“I was that sad kid in the middle,” Ms Grundy said jokingly.
“I was too young to play with the older kids and too old to play with the younger kids.”
Fortunately, Ms Grundy could always look forward to the joys of horse riding and the freedom this brought – a definite highlight of her childhood.
“I was riding horses from the age of three or four, starting on ponies … my dad would break them in,” Ms Grundy said.
“(Horse riding) was a means of transport, it was just what everyone did.
“You would just saddle up and ride around the district and see who else was out.
“I would have ridden a bike but I never learnt how to … the damn thing wouldn’t stay up.”
Throughout her childhood, she attended Beetaloo Valley School in South Australia’s Mid North, which she said “had eight students when I was there”.
She then left school at the end of grade seven with her qualifying certificate, to work as “home help”, which involved helping with housework and tending to babies and children in the area.
Upon leaving that, she worked at the Shell depot at Snowtown, and also helped her parents in the family green grocery shop at Gladstone.
In 1946, Ms Grundy met David John Grundy, a cook in the regular army, stationed at 5CAD Army camp in Gladstone; the pair married that same year.
By a stroke of misfortune, there were no photos from the wedding – the photographer checked their camera at the end of the celebration and realised there had been no film in it the entire time.
On discharge from the army, the late Mr Grundy worked for Shell Oil Company, driving trucks to deliver petroleum products throughout the Flinders Ranges.
The couple had five children: Barbara, Barry, Margaret, Lorraine and Mal.
In 1964, the family lived at Caloote, where the couple owned a dairy farm.
It wasn’t until 1967 that the family moved to Mypolonga when her husband became employed by the Lands Department.
Then, in 1976, the family moved from their company residence to a house on Green Street, where Ms Grundy has lived ever since.
Lorraine Buttle, Ms Grundy’s fourth child, said her mother was second to none.
“Mum knitted and sewed all our clothes, and we never ate biscuits or cake that were store-bought,” Ms Buttle said.
“She made the best pasties, tomato chutney and lemon self-saucing pudding.
“When we came home from school, mum would always be there … she didn’t want us to be latch-key kids.
“Even with her husband at work and having to raise five kids and run a household, I don’t remember once doing any ironing; it was all mum.”
Ms Grundy was humble about her efforts over the years.
“Motherhood was just something you did,” she said.
“Cooking was a necessity … I had five children and a very, very, very hungry husband.”
Over the years, Ms Grundy has had many a hobby, such as knitting, gardening and completing crosswords.
She has also travelled well, from Sydney to Alice Springs, even climbing Trephina Gorge in the Northern Territory at the age of 86.
Getting to 101 has also meant that the family tally is sitting quite high – today, it totals 11 grandchildren, two step-grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, seven step-great-grandchildren and seven step-great-great grandchildren.
In 2002 she was recognised as a life member of the Mypolonga RSL, of which she had been a part since the family’s move to the area.
So, what’s her secret?
“Don’t drink, don’t swear and don’t spend time with bad women,” she said.