Wilton celebrates a good life
Reflecting on multitude of blessings for 90th birthday
NINETY-YEAR-OLD Wilton Sippel reads the paper and the bible every day, is known for his gravy, has never been drunk and doesn’t mind a tune or two on the violin.
Carloads of guests turned up at Lowood last month to help Mr Sippel celebrate his 90th birthday and a life of good food, music and adventure, all of which happened within a ‘cooee’ of Lowood.
He said his love for the Lowood area stemmed back to his childhood.
“I grew up here from a kid on. I went to school at Tarampa,” Mr Sippel said. “Lowood was always our town.”
Wilton was born in Marburg on October 16, 1928. He was the eldest of seven, with five brothers and a sister.
“I wasn’t expected to live and I was baptised in the hospital, but I guess I must have,” he said.
Born weighing just 4.5 pounds, his grandparents had to make the journey to the hospital using a horse and sulky as they did not own a car.
A Builder by trade, Wilton grew up on a farm, working hard for his keep.
“We used to milk the cattle by hand and it was dry farming, we had no irrigation in those days and we worked with horses and not tractors,” he said.
“I loved working with the land and the ground but I always wanted to be a builder.”
Wilton worked for several years at Hopevale Indigenous Mission in north Queensland in the 1960s, where he taught many about building and took on a large number of apprentices to work on some school buildings and the Lutheran Church.
“Two years we worked up there, it was all manual work,” he said.
“There was no machinery in them days to dig the foundations, it all had to be dug by hand. It was a huge job to be done by hand.
“We had good friends. I’d love to go back again and see all the old people I worked with.”
Wilton said the hard work instilled a sense of pride about his work, and it was just the way things were.
“You didn’t whinge about it, you just had to knuckle down and do it,” he said.
Through his life he’s seen huge changes to society, and he said he found some of it “crazy”.
“When I was born in 1928 there was hardly a car anywhere, it was all horse and sulky,” he said.
“I was nine years old before we even got a wireless (radio).”
At age 29, Wilton spied the woman he would marry working in a grocery shop.
He explained he and Lynette eventually came together, and had four children, Anne, Tania, Ian and Jayne.
“We got married in the Brethren Lutheran Church in Lowood, but we worked on the church every day for a fortnight to have it built in time,” he said.
“I love Lowood and I love being here.”
Wilton is a keen cook, best know for his gravy, and a dedicated reader and musician.
He reads the paper and bible every day and loves cooking a skill he picked up from his mother.
Wilton also has a special Gravy recipe handed down to him by his grandparents that he calls upon often.
“I can play the keyboard and violin, an old chap taught me, and my dad had a good ear for music,” he said.
He had always lead a healthy life, and while he enjoys the occasional beer, Wilton has never been drunk.
His biggest advice was to always tell the truth.
❝We got married in the Brethren Lutheran Church in Lowood, but we worked on the church every day for a fortnight to have it built in time. I love Lowood and I love being here
— Wilton Sippel
“Be honest all your life and never cheat anybody,” he said.
There wasn’t anything he would change about his life, Wilton explained – he was content.
“I think I’d stay as I am. I love what I’ve done,” he said.
“I just enjoyed all my life. I worked hard, I worked as honestly as I could.”
He said some of his favourite memories were of time spent with his parents learning everything he could from them.
“I loved my parents. I learned a lot of things from mum and from my dad too,” he said.
Wilton offered one piece of advice to make the world a better place – love.
“I think we need more Christian love. Love one another more. You don’t need to be jealous of people,” he said.
Wilton’s gravy recipe
■ The ‘brown stuff in the bottom of the roast pan’
Mix it all together
CELEBRATION: Lowood resident Wilton Sippel turned 90 on October 16. Born in Marburg in 1928, Wilton has spent most of his life within a ‘cooee’ of Lowood and said he simply loved the area.
A builder by trade, Wilton Sippel grew up on a farm and said the hard manual labour taught him a lot.