Still smiling at 105

Kirkbrae Kilsyth resident Alfred turned 105-years-old, celebrating on 5 July. (Mikayla van Loon: 417901)

By Mikayla van Loon

The excitement of a birthday can never be matched, even when you reach 105 years of age.

Kirkbrae Aged Care resident Alfred celebrated 105 years in style on Friday 5 July, with afternoon tea, cake and entertainment provided by singer Gabrielle Parbo.

Alfred himself even tried his hand at belting out a tune, singing his favourite song to the room full of fellow residents.

While his health has deteriorated slightly, the birthday boy could still request just one thing for his celebration – a beer.

Enjoying the refreshingly crisp drink, some from a tea cup and some from the bottle, Alfred was the man of the moment when Happy Birthday was sung and the cake was cut, cheers ringing out for birthday boy.

Star Mail first met Alfred when he turned 104, one of four residents to reach the centenary mark or older last year.

Born into good Irish and South African stock, Alfred’s daughter Annette said he came from a line of family members living long, healthy lives.

“My father has an ancestor who was 105, he was Irish…his brother was 99 and six months when he died,” she said at last year’s celebration.

As a man of faith, something he has passed onto his children, Alfred puts his long life down to the fifth commandment of God, to “honour your father and mother, that your days may be long on the face of the earth”.

“I am one of nine children, the sixth out of nine and when I was a young man during the Great Depression, dad was put out of work and it was a bad time. There were seven of us at the time and no money coming in,” Alfred said.

“I had to start work at the age of 14 and I had to give all that I could possibly give to support my parents.”

Alfred spent much of his life living in different parts of Victoria and South Australia as a lay preacher.

“At an early age I was introduced to preaching as a lay preacher and I first preached at a Presbyterian Church at the age of 18 in a little church in Ferntree Gully Road, Mount Waverley.

“After that I did a lot of preaching all around Victoria and in Penola in South Australia…I preached at 70 different Presbyterian churches which I believe is a record.”

Up until the age of 96, Alfred was still playing golf regularly, a passion of his.

He is also the proud grandfather of 14 and great grandfather to 33.