Dec 02, 2021

Australian aged care resident reflects on 100 years of ‘wonderful life’ on her birthday

Australian aged care resident reflects on 100 years of wonderful life on her birthday

To say that the new centenarian loves the neighbourhood she lives in is an understatement.

Alison was born in her family home at Ascot and for all but 10 years of her 100-year life has lived within 4km of her current home, the Carinity Clifford House aged care community in Wooloowin.

The middle child of five, she was born Alison Ash on 1 December 1921 to Marion and Frederick Ash, who owned a drapery business. Her early memories include climbing on the back of the maid while she was scrubbing the floor, and holidays at a beachside cottage at Scarborough.

Alison attended Ascot State School, ranking in the top five students in Queensland in the Scholarship Examination of 1934, and later studied at Somerville House.

Alison Woodroffe on her wedding day in 1943
Alison Woodroffe on her wedding day in 1943

After completing her schooling, Alison worked in a bank where she met her future husband, Norm Woodroffe. The couple wed in 1943 and remained together until Norm’s passing 62 years later. They had five children: Alison drove herself to hospital to give birth to the third child!

World War II had a devastating impact on Alison’s family with her brother Ron, a Royal Air Force pilot, shot down over Germany in 1940. Norm enlisted in the infantry, and was posted to the Middle East, before serving two tours of duty in Papua New Guinea, at Kokoda and Milne Bay.

During the war, Alison went to Wesley House in the city to serve breakfasts for soldiers on leave. 

She would then go to work before volunteering to make camouflage nets at Eagle Farm Racecourse in the evening and also helped run concerts to support the war effort.

Alison maintains that her generation were the lucky ones. She explained that after marriage, women were not encouraged to stay in the workforce but were homemakers, allowing mothers and children much time together.

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