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A Wonderful Century


One month after the sinking of the Titanic there were celebrations in Ballarat at the arrival of a new daughter and sister in the Oates household.

This was around the time a competition had been launched to design our National Capital to be situated at Canberra and before World Wars 1 and 2.

Grandaughter of Cornish migrants, Mavis attended school in Ballarat where she studiously did her lessons on a slate board with a slate pencil - no paper or pens in those days for the younger grades.

Travel was generally by foot, bicycle or horse and buggy and there was an extensive electric tramway around Ballarat. Steam trains were used to travel further afield.

Growing up, Mavis enjoyed singing in the Church Choir and playing tennis along with her brothers. She also developed a lifelong interest in helping others through the Red Cross organisation. She spent many years working in various capacities including volunteering in the Red Cross Op shops.

Mavis went on to become a successful dressmaker, working for Myer stores and other fashion outlets. She also had a stint as a teacher at Clarendon College in Ballarat where she taught her dressmaking skills to the students there.

When she married she moved to East Ivanhoe in Melbourne where she assisted her husband in the running of a fruit shop.

Mavis never had time to retire - always busy at something, always another wedding dress to make, always another shift to do at the Op Shop, always in demand for her skills in dressmaking.

Last year at 99 years she took one of her regular trips to Queensland to visit her niece and is thinking of slipping up there again soon - if she has time that is.

Life is slowing down a bit though and she has enjoyed time recently in the Aged Care facility in Bannockburn with regular visits from friends and family and plenty of activities to enjoy each day. It was here that family and friends gathered in May to help Mavis celebrate her 100th birthday anniversary.

Congratulations Mavis. May you have many more years as you enjoy life and make new friendships in your new surroundings at Bannockburn.