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A life of adventure and faith: DHL resident Olive Jardine turns 100

Olive Jardine, a resident at Dorothy Henderson Lodge, turns 100 years old on January 23 and says that her advice for living a long life is, “Having faith in God and doing the very best I can do in everything.” Olive has had an extraordinary life, including serving in the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) for almost five years.

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8 February, 2021

Olive Jardine, a resident at Dorothy Henderson Lodge, turns 100 years old on January 23 and says that her advice for living a long life is, “Having faith in God and doing the very best I can do in everything.”

Born in Gladesville, Olive grew up during the Great Depression with her brother Harry who served in the Royal Australian Air Force during WW2 in Borneo and lived in Tasmania until his death two years ago. A fond memory of this time for Olive was the annual Sunday school picnic run by the Christ Church Anglican Church at Gladesville.

A strong memory of Olive’s childhood is of an Aboriginal lady called Lucy who lived in the bushland of the area. She was very poor and greatly loved by the people who lived nearby as she was so friendly. The locals of Gladesville got together and donated their money and labour to build Lucy a house.

Olive served in the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) for four years and eight months, stationed at Uranquinty and Forest Hill, near Wagga Wagga. The WAAAF was the first military organisation for women in Australia which focused on skills other than nursing the sick and injured and was the largest of the Second World War women’s services.

Olive remembers feeling the public joy and ecstasy when peace was declared at the end of the War in the streets and particularly in Martin Place, Sydney. After being discharged from the Air Force, Olive had a succession of office jobs working mainly in legal firms. She then joined the Public Service and eventually was asked to work for the then Health Minister, Gus Kelly. Olive worked there until she married in 1949. Olive‘s husband, Gordon, served in the Army and was stationed at Darwin.

Olive lived in North Ryde for nearly seventy years, after meeting and marrying Gordon in 1949, who sadly passed away in 2018. Olive and Gordon bought a block of land in Cox’s Road, North Ryde and first built the garage themselves, living there while they built their house. Gordon did most of the building with friends which took three years while he was still working as a taxi driver. Together they had two sons, Kevin and Trevor, and Olive now has six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Olive loves to reminisce about her days in the Air Force and has also written about her experiences. Olive tells us one memorable story from her time in the Air Force was when she began to have concerns about some of the girls who were swearing in her unit. She devised a plan to fine the girls one penny each time they swore. Whenever someone swore, Olive would say “A penny please!”, and soon she had a very large amount of money.

Olive wondered what they were going to do with all the money. There was a girl in Olive’s unit called Dawn, who had an elderly father and her mother had died. She was about to turn twenty-one years old. Olive hit on a plan to give Dawn a surprise party. Sandwiches, cakes and a large birthday cake were ordered. The girls in the unit were trying to work out a way to get Dawn to come to the recreation hut for the surprise when Olive had another great idea. All the girls called out “Fire!” and Dawn soon came running to see what was going on. When Dawn turned 90 years old, she told one of her former Air Force colleagues that she had still kept the special handmade gift they gave her all those years ago: her 21st key.

Olive stays active at DHL, telling us she enjoys reading newspapers, playing scrabble, going to knitting group as well as the concerts and other music at the home and “loves playing Bingo and winning a packet of chips”.

When asked what she hopes for in the coming year, she said she hopes the world will be a better place.

Happy Birthday Olive, we love hearing stories from your extraordinary life and we hope you enjoy celebrating this wonderful milestone.