Born and Bred Novocastrian Turns 100
19th April 2017
On 19th of April 2017 Calvary St Francis resident Marjorie Blakemore celebrated her 100th birthday. Surrounded by friends and family Marjorie enjoyed sharing her story at a special morning tea.
Marjorie’s two children, Narelle and Brian were in attendance. Narelle presented her mother with letters from the Queen, Prime Minister and Governor General for reaching this milestone.
At the morning tea Marjorie recited a verse “I said a prayer for you today” to celebrate the happiness her friends and family have bought her. She was presented with a photo album from the staff and residents at Calvary St Francis. The album featured photos from her life and photos of her family. Marjorie then cut the special birthday cake with her son Bryan.
Marjorie moved into Calvary St Francis in Eleebana in 2013 and has met many new friends. At the morning tea fellow resident Val said “Marjorie is like my nanna. She is the best nanna I could’ve wished for. Marj is always there to talk to. She is a lovely, friendly person and I’m proud to know her”. Pam, another resident, said “Marj is a great neighbour and I appreciate having her around”.
Marjorie praised the staff at Calvary St Francis “All of the staff here are lovely and I didn’t expect them to go to all of this trouble. I’m very thankful.” Daughter Narelle said “It was mum’s choice to move into Calvary St Francis when she was 96. She has loved her time here”.
Marjorie has lived in Newcastle her whole life. She was born in Hamilton in 1917 and lived in the New Lambton area as a young child.
She attended the local St Theresa’s Primary School at New Lambton and then at 12 moved onto High School at St Aloysius in Hamilton. Marjorie left school at 15 and attended the Newcastle Business College where she learnt to write shorthand and developed her typewriter skills. Marjorie utilised her education in her role as a stenographer for W.C. Douglas Wholesale Grocers.
In 1944 Marjorie married returned soldier Jesse at Lambton Catholic Church. Once Marjorie and Jesse began their family she became a stay at home mother.
Throughout her life Marjorie played various sports including tennis and lawn bowls. She enjoyed going to dances at the local halls.
Marjorie also had a keen interest in elocution. As an only child Marjorie used to spend time with her mother competing in eisteddfods. Daughter Narelle said “During her childhood mum won over 30 gold medals and 20 silver medals for her elocution. As she got older she started to play the piano and reciting. I remember we used to have parties where mum would entertain guests with her performances”.
Marjorie has travelled around Australia and overseas. When asked what her favourite place is she said “Newcastle is and will always be my favourite place”.
Over the years Marjorie has seen Newcastle transform from a coal town to much more. She has witnessed many changes in fashion, technology and shopping. “Back in the day we had to go into town to shop on Hunter Street. It was exciting to see shopping centres develop across Newcastle. It made things way easier”.
One of Marjorie’s fondest memories was going to Bar Beach with her cousins. They would pack a large suitcase of food and crockery and make a table out of sand to eat their lunch on. “It was a long time ago now but I still have good memories of those days”.
Nowadays Marjorie has 13 great grandchildren and an ever growing family.
When asked what her secret to turning 100 was she said “Every day is another day. I am grateful for what I have. I’ve had a good life. I’ve never been short of anything and have been able to do all I wanted. I have a beautiful family and for that I am thankful”.