Australia’s oldest woman, Lorna Henstridge, celebrates her 110th birthday in Bordertown

Australia’s oldest woman, Lorna Henstridge, celebrates her 110th birthday in Bordertown
  • PublishedJune 9, 2024

Australia’s oldest woman doesn’t know what has led to her long life but says exercising every day doesn’t hurt.

“I just keep on keeping on,” Lorna Henstridge said.

“I’ve always liked exercise, fresh air, interest in people and being active all the time.”

Ms Henstridge, who lives South Australia’s Bordertown, turns 110 today.

She became the oldest woman in Australia last month and is the second-oldest person in the country, behind Ken Weeks, of Grafton, New South Wales.

An old black and white photo of a baby about one year old
Ms Henstridge was born Lorna Paterson in 1914.(Supplied: Lorna Henstridge)

The world’s oldest living person, Maria Branyas Morera of Spain, turned 117 in March.

Active body and mind

Ms Henstridge was born in Adelaide on June 6, 1914, and spent her early years on her parents’ farm near Bute, on the Yorke Peninsula.

When she started school, her father would ride with her on horseback to the train station and then she would catch the train to school.

They quickly worked out it was not ideal and Ms Henstridge moved to Adelaide to live with her grandmother, going to Unley School and then St Peters Girls’ School.

She met her husband while working at a library for soldiers in World War II and they married in January 1945.

They then lived in Victor Harbor and later moved to Keith, in South Australia’s south-east, after buying a menswear store there.

A composite of a black and white photo of children and another of a couple at their wedding
Lorna Henstridge as a child (far left) and on her wedding day with husband Alan.(Supplied: Lorna Henstridge)

They both enjoyed golf, with Ms Henstridge becoming the Keith Golf Club’s secretary for more than 30 years.

She moved from Keith to the nursing home at the Bordertown Memorial Hospital five years ago.

She walks around the garden and the hallways there every day and also exercises her legs in her room.  

She does crosswords, reads and goes out three times a week with her daughter, Jennie Jacobs, 77.

“That, I think, contributes to why she’s as fit as she is,” Ms Jacobs said.

“Even if she’s feeling unwell and I’ll say to her ‘would you like to go out?’ she will always say ‘yes’ and so out we go.”

An elderly woman and a younger woman on a bench outside
Ms Henstridge with her daughter, Jennie Jacobs.(ABC South East SA: Eugene Boisvert)

Still enjoying life

Ms Henstridge also has a son, David, and another daughter, Carolyn, along with seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

She said becoming Australia’s oldest woman did not make a big difference in her life, apart from the attention of the media.

“I don’t really appreciate it, I don’t think,” she said.

“I just feel much the same except a little bit debilitated, but, no, I can still enjoy things and wish I could do what the young do.”

An elderly woman holding an oval framed photo of a young child wearing Elizabethan costume
Ms Henstridge with a colourised photo of herself at seven years old.(ABC South East SA: Eugene Boisvert)

Ms Jacobs said Ms Henstridge’s mother reached her 90s and her grandmother passed 100.

“It’s in the genes, I think, apart from the fact that she also has to exercise and she’s been very energetic all her life,” Ms Jacobs said.

She said her mother was not defined just by her age.

“I remember her as she never, ever wanted anybody to know how old she was — ever,” she recalled.

“I think she was something like 90 or 95 before she ever let anybody know her age, so she’s never been one for wanting people to know that, I think, so now she’s thinking ‘now I’ve got there, now everybody knows’.”

The second oldest woman in Australia, Mavis Turner, also lives in South Australia, at Encounter Bay, and will turn 110 next week. 

The oldest person ever recorded in Australia was Christina Cock, who died aged 114 in 2002.

SOURCE: ABCNEWS

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