LIVING with the fondest memories of growing up on a farm, a resident at Mitchell House in Morwell, Catherine Brown, turned 100 on Monday (March 4).

Catherine grew up on an 80-acre farm in Woodend with her mother and three siblings until she found her husband. Then, she moved to the Latrobe Valley and started her own family.

“It was lovely. We had about 80 acres, but that was when I lived with my mother. My husband worked up at the quarry with his uncle. When the quarry closed, my husband had a home built on the main street,” Catherine said.

On the farm, Catherine used to help milk the cows and carry buckets of milk to the dairy. She told the Express that she enjoyed the farm life with her family, whether with the cows, growing potatoes or watching the Melbourne folk come down during the mushroom season.

She said, “I loved milking the cows. I reckon I could still do it”.

“People from Melbourne would come up during the mushrooming time and walk all over the farm to get mushrooms because they were so popular. What mum never liked about them was that they would leave the gate open, and the animals would get out. She said that the people of Melbourne don’t understand farm life.”

Catherine’s mother was given a cup for the ‘best potato of the year’ during one potato season.

Catherine told the Express that her mum had to make a speech on a stage with stairs, and she was a bit worried whether her mum would be alright getting them down.

“I sat down, listening to her, and thought I would have to go around there and see if she could come down without falling. I walked around, and sure enough, she fell down those steps. She wasn’t hurt. Those were good days.”

After a few years of living nearby, Catherine met her husband, Bob, at a country dance. He had a job up in Melbourne but had the sudden call to go to his father after an accident. Having to help out on the farm, Bob spent much time in the area and then went to the dance, where they soon met.

“We met going to a dance. As one of those things you say, it was meant to be. We met through going to the country dance. He was a good dancer, and I wasn’t too bad, but he was a lovely dancer,” Catherine said.

After being together for a while, Bob and Catherine moved to Gippsland, even with the disapproval of Catherine’s mother.

“When Bob moved up here, my mother wasn’t too keen on that, taking me away from home. He was marvellous. He would take me up every week to Woodend to see her for eight years. We would go up Saturday morning and sleep with mum that night, and he would go to his mother’s place. Then, he would pick me up, and we would drive back to Gippsland again. That was a four-hour drive. Right through Melbourne, but we did it for eight years until she died.”

Bob died in 2009, leaving Catherine, their four children, and close to 10 grandchildren and their great-grandchildren behind.

While Catherine can no longer do most of her hobbies, such as cooking and playing bowls, she enjoys her time at Mitchell House, where she can chat in good company, play cards, have visitors (family or entertainment) and knit.

Catherine told the Express that she is delighted to be where she is and loves Mitchell House.

“I have been here for two years, and they are all nice. It’s a lovely little place to be. The girls are all lovely. While I can talk to people and do things, I am quite happy,” she said.