Celebrating 100 years

Milestone moment: Margaret Ward will celebrate her 100th birthday tomorrow surrounded by loved ones.
Milestone moment: Margaret Ward will celebrate her 100th birthday tomorrow surrounded by loved ones.

A daughter, a wife, a sister, a mother – Margaret Ward will turn 100 tomorrow and celebrate all she has done and all she is.

Born in Katanning on August 30, 1918, on a soldiers settlement farm, Margaret said she had many memories from the time she was four on the farm with her three sisters and four brothers and Scottish mother. 

“It was the crudest house, two rooms with board floors and the other room was the kitchen with earth floor – you can’t believe the things we did, but we never knew any different and everyone was in the same boat,” she said.

Margaret said she could remember seeing one of the first cars – a Ford A, which her father called the White Elephant.

“His friend said ‘they say these things will take the place of the horse but nothing will take the place of the horse’,” she said. 

Margaret and her family moved to a small cottage in Carlisle on what is now Orrong Road in 1925, after her father returned from the war and was given a job as an inspector for the Rabbit Proof Fence. 

At the age of 14, Margaret went in search of a job, taking a day off school she visited a dressmaking factory and was given a place after waiting three hours for the boss. 

"It was quite a success, I was very good at it," she said. 

"I could give my mother five shillings for board, one shilling paid my fares for six days for the tram, we could buy material from work to make our own clothes.”

Romance found her at a dance, where she meet her husband Frank Ward who played football for East Perth, the pair married when Margaret was 23 and four sons and a daughter soon followed before 11 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.

“We’ve never had much money but I’m better off now than I’ve ever been – I’m happy, I’ve got a roof that doesn’t leak, a comfortable bed and plenty to eat, what else do you need?” she said. 

When asked what advice she would give her younger self, she said to not be so silly with moderation key to a healthy life. 

“I used to sit on the back of a Harley Davidson with a boy and tell him to go faster – it was ridiculous,” she said.

“Being a 100, it doesn’t feel any different but I’ve been very lucky.”