Wilton cel­e­brates a good life

Re­flect­ing on mul­ti­tude of bless­ings for 90th birth­day

Gatton Star - - LIFE THROUGH THEIR EYES - Emma Clarke & Do­minic El­some

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

In­gre­di­ents:

■ The ‘brown stuff in the bot­tom of the roast pan’

■ Cream

■ Wa­ter

Method:

Mix it all to­gether

PHO­TOS: ROB WIL­LIAMS

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.

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