106 years old but still likes to turn heads
SHE may have hit the grand old age of 106 yesterday but Agnes Wilson still wanted to “keep the boys excited” on her birthday.
“I’d like a nice new frock so some good-looking man asks me out,” she said.
Mrs Wilson, who is believed to be NSW’s oldest woman, puts her long life down to laughing a great deal, eating small portions and enjoying a whisky every night.
“I enjoy life, I enjoy every minute of it,” she said. “I still laugh because having fun keeps you young and I’ve always been a source of trouble and fun.”
Born in an era known for its style and manners, Mrs Wilson regularly caught the bus from her Mosman home to Maroubra to get her hair cut until she was 99.
She lived in Melbourne until 1963 and once took a day off work to snap up a dress from department store Buckley & Nunn the minute it was removed from the window display.
Her memory is starting to fail her but she remembers having Australia’s first perm hairstyle.
“When they put the rollers in, I thought I was the Queen,” she said.
Of course Queen Elizabeth wasn’t born until 1926, by which time Mrs Wilson was a teenager and had migrated to Australia aboard the SS Miltiades.
“My mother sang for the passengers in the ballroom, while I went and played down in the engine room where the men shovelled coal,” she said.
When she was born in 1912, George V was on the throne and also known as the Emperor of India, World War I was yet to begin and Australia was only 11 years old.
Her husband first approached her under Melbourne’s famous Flinders Street station clocks.
“I was waiting for friends to go ice skating when a gorgeous creature came up to me, took off his hat,
and asked: ‘Are you waiting for me’?” she said. “I said: ‘No, unfortunately’.” She met RAAF flying officer William Wilson for coffee the next day, before going on to marry him and have two daughters, six grandchildren. She met her seventh greatgrandchild, one-week old Genevieve Langley, for the first time yesterday.
Flying was a family passion, as Mrs Wilson’s good friend, pioneering aviatrix Gertrude “Mac” McKenzie, would regularly take her on joy flights over Melbourne.
According to her 70-year-old daughter Nola Bullivant, a sure sign her mum had come to visit was half a banana in the fruit bowl because she never ate an entire piece of fruit in one sitting.
She also had a swift way to deal with her children’s complaints.
“In the days before fridges she went up to the corner store to get my sister and I an ice cream but when I complained about the flavour, she gave it away to the first kid that walked past our house,” Mrs Bullivant said.
Her daughter described Mrs Wil- son as a “brilliant” mother, albeit not a very good cook, who is always positive and has never lost her sense of humour.
Testament to her fitness and sharp mind, Mrs Wilson travelled to Austria, France and the Czech Republic when she was 97 and didn’t move into St Paul’s Northbridge residential aged care until she was 101. “I still feel like I’m 21 inside,” she said.
Agnes’s dresser of memories in her room in the aged care.
Her husband William Wilson and (right) with two of her children. Agnes Wilson says she still feels 21 on the inside Agnes Wilson is believed to be NSW’soldest woman. Pictures: Sam Ruttyn