Celebrating a Century

Birthday’s are always special. But there’s nothing quite like a 100th Birthday celebration.


One of our treasured residents, Mavis Donovan, celebrated her Centenary last week, in the company of close family and friends. If that wasn’t special enough, Councillor Drew Wickerson, had generously offered to make the cake to celebrate this amazing milestone. Mavis and Cr Wickerson met back in December of last year when he visited residents for Christmas. When Cr Wickerson heard of Mavis’ upcoming birthday he kindly offered to be a part of the occasion.


Mavis was born on the 5th of July 1919 and has been in Central Queensland her whole life. She grew up on a cattle property near Duaringa, called Glenelgin. Mavis had a very authentic country childhood. She used to play tennis on a dirt court, swim and fish in the property’s dam and get up to mischief with her younger brother. Her father used to grow all their vegetables on the property and Mavis can remember he used to “cart water kilometres for the gardens”.


Getting anywhere was a long-haul trip 100 years ago, she remembers travelling to Rockhampton and having to camp because the trip was so long. “I’d go to dances in town and we’d have to camp on the side of the road while we travelled there, the horse and buggy was all we had back then.”


Mavis stayed on the property all her life, that’s even where she met her husband, George. They eventually bought the property off, Mr Officer, where they then lived for 50 years.


She was the epitome of a country mother working her whole life, she would bake bread, milk the cows, and even home schooled her two children Yvonne and Mervyn until they got a governess.


It wasn’t until her husband fell ill that they eventually moved in to Rockhampton, which Mavis hated, she was and is a country girl at heart. Sadly, her husband passed away, but Mavis didn’t stop living. She made up for her years of hard work by finally travelling in her 80’s to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore, Tasmania, New Zealand, the Islands of Noumea, Norfolk Island, the Northern Territory, up north to the Daintree Rainforest and as far as Cooktown.


She loved to travel but not as much as she loved her garden. Yvonne, her daughter remembers all her friends telling her, “they would always see Mum out in the yard gardening, she would wake up at 5am and be straight out tending to all her flowers, it was absolutely beautiful.”


Cr Wickerson created a beautiful flower themed cake for Mavis to pay tribute to her love of gardening and her favourite colour, lemon. Mavis’ daughter Yvonne said that “Mum always had a beautiful garden and still loves to garden to this day; the cake was a beautiful celebration of that.”


Mavis has lived at Benevolent Aged Care since 2017 and is a social butterfly. She attends almost every activity, but her favourite is cards and morning tea where she has her regular table.