Rov­ing Ru­bies cel­e­brate Dame Edna’s 96th

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFESTYLE -

THE Cen­tral Coast’s Rov­ing Ru­bies lay claim to two records: hav­ing the most se­nior Aus­tralian Red Hat­ter in their group, and the most group mem­bers to have done the Hokey Pokey on Syd­ney Harbour at one time.

The group cel­e­brated “Dame Edna” Fowler’s 96th birth­day in Age of Aquarius style on Jan­uary 31, com­plete with a gi­ant Kombi ban­ner fea­tur­ing win­dow cut-outs.

They even sup­plied their el­dest stateswoma­n with a but­ter­fly kaf­tan for the oc­ca­sion.

Declar­ing Edna an icon, group founder Mar­lene Klint­worth, known af­fec­tion­ately as Queen Lil­i­mar­lene, has made it her mis­sion to make each birth­day since Edna’s 90th one to re­mem­ber.

Her 90th in­volved a bikini party, her 95th a for­mal do with long dresses and tiaras, more to Edna’s taste, and Edna de­clared at the time “we’ll see what they do for my 100th”.

But she didn’t have to wait that long, as a fun Flower Power gath­er­ing was this year’s marker.

The ladies aren’t afraid of a good time and even made their own fake (or so we are told) joints for the oc­ca­sion.

The only hur­dle was that no one was game to make the birth­day cake for the for­mer multi award-win­ning cake dec­o­ra­tor.

Mar­lene fi­nally talked a newer mem­ber who was bliss­fully un­aware of Edna’s cre­den­tials into do­ing so.

But Edna’s birth­day is just one of many rea­sons the group finds to cel­e­brate.

They will mark the group’s 15th birth­day this year by head­ing back to the Rhythm Boat to cruise Syd­ney Harbour with Red Hat­ters from six other branches.

Last year they cre­ated a ver­i­ta­ble conga line of 73 red and pur­ple-be­decked ladies while, as Mar­lene said, “try­ing to re­mem­ber their right from their left” and do­ing the Hokey Pokey as they boarded.

As last year’s guest was coun­try mu­sic leg­end Frank Ifield, Mar­lene said they had big shoes to fill in 2020.

But amid the fun, the group also does its bit for oth­ers, in­clud­ing rais­ing money for vic­tims of the bush­fires and prepar­ing and send­ing 70 Christ­mas boxes to Aus­tralian troops.

But, with Mar­lene in the pic­ture, even these were not your or­di­nary boxes.

“They loved the whoopee cush­ions and fun lit­tle games we put in as well as the Tim Tams, of course,” she said.

Ali­son Hous­ton

HIPPY BIRTH­DAY: Birth­day girl Dame Edna Fowler, her daugh­ter Hellen Meaney and Shirley Chap­man with Ava De Zeeuw (back).

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