TIME TO REFLECT: Florence Shearer reminisces about the golden days, changes to the region and memories she will never forget.
TIME TO REFLECT: Florence Shearer reminisces about the golden days, changes to the region and memories she will never forget. Francis Witsenhuysen

Lowood resident of 50 years, Florence shares her life

RECENTLY celebrating her 93rd birthday, Florence Shearer recollected her story with precision, emotion and spirit.

Living in Lowood for over 50 years and now a resident at Carinity Aged Care, Florence spoke fondly of the "way things were", favourite pastimes and cherished memories.

Born on August 11, 1922 in Bangalow in New South Wales, Florence was a "beach girl" in her youth.

"I grew up in Barkers Vale, then Brunswick Heads in New South Wales. I lived in different places because dad was a cattle farmer, but we settled in Casino because mum and dad retired there," she said.

"I had four brothers and two sisters, families seemed to be much bigger back then."

One of Florence's favourite pastime was horse riding and at one stage, she owned three horses.

"My hobby was riding horses, I'd love to be able to get on a horse and go for a canter again," she said.

"If you went for a gallop on one cheeky girl, you'd just have to say 'wooo' and she'd just stop so suddenly a few times I just went straight over her head.

"I worked in a general store after school and at 18 and three months went to become a nurse at Lower Clarence Hospital at Mclean, NSW.

"Dad didn't want me to become a nurse in the first place. He said all nurses finish up with bad backs and he's was not totally wrong."

When Florence was working in Mclean, she met her husband to-be, Ernest Alfred John, on a blind date.

At first she "couldn't stand him" but then he "sort of grew on me".

"Then he went up north, but we exchanged letters furiously," she said.

"I married him on July 21 in Casino in 1942. It was a jolly cold day.

"In those days, when you got married you were out, you had to move out and you had to stop work.

"I had second thoughts about getting married, even though I loved Ernest, because I really wanted to become a theatre nurse. I loved the theatre and working with surgeons.

"But my parents talked me around."

Ernest served in the army in different parts of Australia and in New Guinea.

When Ernest was in the army, he unfortunately began to go blind, so the Shearers moved to the Northern Territory, where Ernest lectured for different parts of the army.

"He was a very talented, but humble man," she said.

"After he got out of the army, we moved down to Lockhart NSW where he became a tailor. He even made me a few nice skirts."

Moving to Lowood in 1960, Florence and Ernest settled down and had four children, two boys and two girls.

"The fourth certainly came as a surprise," she said, with jest.

"My daughters, Neva, oldest and Karen both were telephonists. My son, Raymond is a mechanic and Graham is a practising doctor. I'm very proud of my kids.

"We enjoyed living in Lowood, Ernest was well and truly into the RSL and I was treasurer and secretary for a while too."

Florence's favourite thing is seeing her kids and great-grandchildren and being visited by old friends.

"I love it when my grandkids sing and play piano."


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