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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Central Tilba resident, Frank Mawer turns 110

Central Tilba resident, Frank Mawer turns 110 on Monday, 15th August 2022.

Frank has been Australia's oldest man since July 2021 and is also Australia's second oldest person. Monday, 15 August sees Frank turn 110……making him a super centenarian…yes there is such a category.

Frank was born 1912 in Sydney. One of 10 children, a twin though his brother died at birth….the youngest boy with three younger sisters. His childhood passed around Parramatta area. When he was 12 his mother died. His father was invalided and though older siblings at first attempted to keep the family together a couple of years later the younger children became state wards. Frank was sent to a dairy farm up Kempsey way however, about two years later, the family were able to get him back to Sydney where he was able to get an apprenticeship with a builder. During the Depression years he lived in a rooming house in Devonshire St Sydney and started attending an Assembly of God church in Elizabeth St in the city. Also attending that church was Frank's wife to be Elizabeth Hale. The pair married around the beginning of the war. Frank, because of his religious beliefs was a conscientious objector to war and so was sent to work supporting the war effort in the Northern Territory leaving behind his wife and their first child and pregnant with their second child. After the war another four children would follow the family having settled in Kingsgrove, a suburb of Sydney. Frank continued working as a builder and was doing well until an inflation spike in the late 50’s sent him bankrupt….the next number of years were hard for the family as he strove to pay off his debts. The family got through it, the children grew up and as retirement approached the house they had rented since 1950 was to be sold…they bought it. The children soon enough had all left home and Frank and his wife decided to sell up and move into a home unit at Gymea closer to sons living in the Sutherland Shire. They enjoyed caravanning and made frequent trips to various places in Australia ….continuing to attend Assembly of God churches where they had many old friends.

Sadly Frank's wife developed dementia and Frank gradually became her carer until toward the end of her life she went into care with Frank spending his days visiting her in the home. After his wife died in 2008 Frank continued to live on his unit and his wish was not to leave. However during 2021 it became increasingly clear that he could not continue living alone His options, a nursing home or move to Central Tilba. Reluctantly he agreed on the move and in November 2021 he moved to live with his son Philip and partner Stuart. Unfortunately in March 2022 Frank had a stroke, spending some six weeks in Bega Hospital, including rehab there, before being discharge back to Central Tilba on a transitional care program which he has just completed. The good news is that all the goals of rehab have been achieved. Just recently he developed a chest infection but with antibiotics has made a good recovery putting him in good shape for his 110th birthday. Frank holds his family dear although none of the other children live close by having spread out largely in Sydney and Melbourne. He has many grandchildren, great grandchildren and some great great grandchildren. Some of these have gone further and live overseas. His children keep regular contact and visit….taking turns. All are proud and pleased that Frank has reached his venerable age.


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