Hahndorf resident, Jean Raven, recently celebrated her 104th birthday with us and attributes a clean living and active lifestyle to her longevity. You know you’re doing pretty well when your first trip to the hospital is at the age of 94 for minor surgery!
Jean says it’s been a combination of never drinking or smoking, and staying active that helped her reach this milestone in such great shape. “As a child we lived on a farm in Kimba, South Australia – so we had no choice but to walk or ride our horses everywhere”, she said. “My brothers and I would walk or ride into school every day. It was an 8 km walk, but we didn’t mind. It’s just what we did”.
“After school or on weekends, we would walk to our neighbours place and play cricket. When I got older I always remained active. I played tennis, and 30 years of croquet. Now I still walk around the aged care facility and down the street if there is something going on.”
Jean lived on her own until her 100th birthday. Her son Bob says his mother is an inspiration, bringing up three children on her own after her husband Alec passed away in 1960 when their youngest child was 13.
“Mum is an amazing woman”, he said. “She’s practically lived on her own for 60 years and to have been through what she has….. she has seen so much, and she has done a wonderful job”.
Jeans family moved around the state during her early childhood, and eventually settled in Kimba, where she met her husband Alec who lived on the neighbouring farm. In her early 20’s, Jean worked in Victor Harbour until they had saved enough money to pack up everything and travel to Port Lincoln in 1939.
Their first child, Dorothy, was born in 1940. Now Jean has seven grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren – all spread over the country.
One of her greatest passions was regularly jumping on a train to visit them all. “I can’t do it much now, but going back a few years I loved visiting my family. I would go anywhere, and I remember the first time I went. I caught the bus to go and visit my family in Perth; I got halfway there and suddenly said, ‘you stupid old dill!’. I had spent all this money on my bus ticket and realised I could have hopped on the train and gone across for nothing because I was entitled to a free ticket! I always caught the train from then on”.