Riverton’s golden girl, Vera Hannaford, celebrated her 100th birthday on January 8 with her close friends and immediate family from the area joining her for a pub squash at her son, Robert ‘Alfie’ Hannaford’s art gallery.
“I was told I couldn’t have a 100th birthday without celebrating it – but there was no champagne for me,” Vera laughed.
“You learn to do as you are told as you get older!”
Vera initially celebrated her 100th birthday with her whole family at Christmas time, and then enjoyed afternoon tea – complete with a crayfish – on her actual birthday, with local friends and immediate family members who live nearby, attending.
“My son Ian couldn’t be there as he was in India, but he rang to wish me a happy birthday.”
While she enjoyed a delicious numeral ‘100’ cake, (with each number being a different flavour), Vera received official congratulatory letters and birthday cards, including one from the queen and governor-general.
However her favourite was (of course,) a card from the Port Adelaide (Power) football club.
“I know Geoff Motley organised that one,” she laughed.
While Vera has lived in Riverton since she married Claude on February 25, 1939, she didn’t grow up there.
“I was born in Adelaide, but my father (who was born in Clare), bought a carpentry and building business, including the undertaker’s business, in Bute when I was about three, so we moved there.”
Vera, the second of five children, attended Bute primary and then Kadina high schools, and was a telephonist for a while after her schooling.
“I then got a job training as a nurse at Riverton, which back then was a training hospital for midwifery,” Vera said.
“The hospital had everything then – surgery, midwifery, contagious diseases etc – people came from everywhere to train there.”
Vera nursed for two years but hadn’t completed her training when she got married, and then had to stop working as was the ‘norm’ back then.
“The war started in the September after we got married, and I then became pregnant with out first child (Ian), plus I helped out on the farm too.”
“I loved the farm life – even though we didn’t have any power – it was hard work but we managed.”
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