Age was never a barrier for Muriel McGilvray who was rarely without a smile and remained interested in life around her up until her last days.
The former longtime Goulburn resident passed away aged 105 at a Ballina aged care facility on January 29, 2021.
The mother of local woman, Helen McAleer and her three siblings also maintained a strong interest in Goulburn and readily recalled many stories about her upbringing.
Thankfully, Helen wrote down many of them, providing a priceless family history.
Muriel Gwendoline Ellen McGilvray was born at Jeffcotts Private Hospital in Montague Street on September 9, 1915, the eldest child of William and Gwen Williams. She had seven siblings - Geoffrey, Joyce (Hopkins), Joan (Frost), Roger, Margaret (Watling), Spencer (Mick), all now deceased, and Judith (Rossler).
She attended Bourke Street Public School, followed by 'Domestic Science School for Girls,' located on the corner of Bourke and Verner Streets. (Now the Hume Conservatorium).
Her father was the managing director of Thomas Williams' Produce in Auburn and Sloane Streets. Muriel was also drawn to the business and went to work for her father for nine years.
Years later, dressed in a specially designed gown, she attended the Odeon Theatre's opening night ball and fortuitously met Ronald William (Mick) McGilvray.
They were married on March 3, 1939 at Goldsmith Street Methodist Church. The couple built a home in Bradley Street where they raised four children - Bill, Susan, Helen and Margaret (Bryant).
Muriel spent the following years looking after her family and helping at school tuckshop. She and her sister, Judy, enjoyed many years playing golf at Goulburn Golf Club.
Mick and Muriel spent holidays at South Durras where they built a holiday house. They finally moved there when Mick retired in 1969.
Mick died in 1986, after many happy years fishing and lobstering. Muriel stayed on at South Durras until 2000 when she moved to a waterfront unit at Crowley Village, Ballina.
She immediately involved herself in all the village activities and continued her love of flower pressing and making pictures and cards.
Muriel marked her 100th birthday in great style at Margaret and Peter Bryant's home at Lennox Head, surrounded by family and friends.
She lived comfortably and in good spirits at her unit in Crowley until March, 2019 when she reluctantly transferred to full-time care. Staff lovingly cared for her.
But even at age 103 Muriel held lessons for residents, showing them how to make pressed flower pictures with flowers sent to her by daughter, Helen.
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On the Saturday before her passing, she was taken to Margaret and Peter's home and enjoyed date scones and coffee by the pool on a beautiful sunny day. This was followed a lunch of prawns and oysters and then, a friend played the harp for her.
Muriel had a full and happy life right to the end. She dearly loved her four children, 10 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
Her funeral was held on Wednesday, February 3, 2021 in Ballina and via Zoom to the United States for family and friends who were unable to attend.
- With thanks to Helen McAleer for this contribution.