Australia’s oldest person turns 111

Written by Changing Habits

August 21, 2010

How wonderful is this story about making 111 years of age.


She has experienced three different centuries, outlived her husband, two sons, three brothers and five sisters and was born before Australia had chosen its first prime minister.


Australia’s oldest citizen and the 49th-oldest person in the world, Miriam Schmierer, is celebrating her 111th birthday today.


Born on August 20, 1899, and married on the same day in 1925, today is also her 85th wedding anniversary.

Ms Schmierer grew up on a dairy farm at Mount Whitestone near Gatton in south-east Queensland and moved to Hervey Bay to retire in 1961.


Her husband, a cream carrier who later turned to dairy cattle, died four years later in 1965.


Ms Schmierer looks back on her life as a farmer’s wife with great fondness.


“I love the country. It is so beautiful and the people are so warm and genuine,” she said.


“The cattle were my interest. Animals are great to work with – they listen and obey. They are God’s creatures to be kindly treated.”


The supercentenarian puts her longevity down to her outlook on life.


“My main interest is my spiritual life, my faith,” she said.


“Because of my age I have had more opportunity to spread the word about my faith and the benefits of living a Christian life. I’m very fortunate to still have my memory and be able to write.”


Ms Schmierer enjoys sharing her stories and opinions with others and writes a monthly column in her nursing home’s newsletter.


She also writes regularly to family and friends.


Her daughter-in-law, Myra Schmierer, says her 111th birthday is a remarkable milestone.


“Her body’s a little bit weak. She doesn’t walk around as much as she used to,” she said.


“Her hearing has gone a little bit but her mind is clear as crystal.


“She still writes a lot of letters. She corresponds with missionaries all around the world.


“We’re very proud of her and she’s an exceptional lady. She really is.”


A spokeswoman from the nursing home where Ms Schmierer has resided for the past 18 years says she is enviable.


“Her state of health is enviable and she has been lucky to go through life with very little health problems,” she said.


The great-great grandmother has seen two World wars, the Great Depression and the technological revolution.

She has never left the comfort of her home state.


Ms Schmierer is spending her birthday with family and friends.


In the afternoon, she will be treated to music, pumpkin scones, a sponge birthday cake and a cup of tea.

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