Cleveland centenarian Peggy Waring celebrates 100th birthday at Aveo Freedom Aged Care Cleveland

GOLDEN: Peggy Waring will celebrate her 100th birthday on March 24 with friends at Aveo Cleveland.
GOLDEN: Peggy Waring will celebrate her 100th birthday on March 24 with friends at Aveo Cleveland.

A HUMBLE centenarian attributes luck and genes to living until the ripe old age of 100.

"I live with what I've been given. I didn't choose to be old, it just happened," Peggy Waring chuckled.

Born in Tamworth in NSW on March 24 1921, Ms Waring grew up in Sydney as an only child.

"All my cousins lived out in the country, so I didn't have many playmates."

As young as she was, Ms Waring recalls tough times in the 1930s and remembers how her family had to save everything, including reusing brown paper bags.

"The streets were full of men carrying their swags on their backs, looking for work... there was no dole in those days," she said.

In her mid 20s, Ms Waring was at a dance in Sydney when a young English sailor caught her eye.

"It was after VE Day, war had ended but was still going in Japan. James was in the Navy and was on one of the ships."

The couple married and settled just outside Manchester in England.

Ms Waring said she spent four years in England before her husband was offered a job at Queensland University as a lecturer and they returned to Australia.

"We lived in Brisbane and I did some casual work, mostly office work, and I worked part time at a disabled centre in Fig Tree Pocket," she said.

As a lecturer, Mr Waring's job allowed him a year off to travel and the couple spent time in the United States and England, enjoying their adventures.

"We travelled around France for a couple of weeks on a motorcycle once and then took a caravan from England to Athens and caught a ship back to Australia," she said.

"You could smell Australia before you got to shore - it smelled of gum leaves."

Ms Waring has memories of driving from Perth to Brisbane on dirt roads.

The couple did not have children, but Ms Waring has a nephew she is close to who lives nearby.

The Warings bought property in Tamborine Mountain in the 1970s and eventually retired in the hinterland.

"People went up there for the environment, there were mostly natural parks, a few shops. We grew figs, pecan nuts, avo trees and I enjoyed gardening," she said.

Ms Waring also sketched, drawing birds and making cards with her art. After her husband died in 2005 Ms Waring decided to come down from the mountain and live in the Redlands. She lived on her own until she was 96 and is now at Aveo Freedom Aged Care, Cleveland.

It's luck and in the genes

Peggy Waring