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Walka Miniature Railway might have had its oldest passenger on Sunday.
With a huge glowing smile on her face, Bea Brien took a ride around the historic Walka Water Works in celebration of her 103rd birthday.
The Largs resident was showered with love by three generations of her family and, of course, a very big cake.
“It has been a very nice day. I didn’t know the whole family were all coming,” Bea said.
But when it comes to the secret to longevity, Bea said she believes there might a case for good old fashioned hard work.
“I never thought I would get here, don’t ask me how I got this old,” she laughed.
“I have no idea how but probably lots of hard work.”
PARTY: Bea Brien with her sons Ian and John at her 103rd birthday celebration on Sunday. She rode the Walka Miniature Railway as part of the festivities.
Bea was born in Auckland, New Zealand on September 3, 1915. She was only a few months old when the family moved back to Australia and found a home in Bronte.
She attended Fort Street Public School in Sydney.
From the schoolyard, she witnessed the construction of one of the city’s most iconic landmark’s – Sydney Harbour Bridge.
“We walked over it the first day before it actually opened,” the centenarian said.
“All the school kids did.”
Other milestones in Bea’s lifetime include World War II, the Great Depression, Cyclone Tracey and even the introduction of Vegemite.
The centenarian married her husband in 1938 and they had four sons – John, Ken, Ian and Ray.
John said his mother has had an interesting life including a job as the post mistress at Navy base HMAS Harman.
“She also ran a little cafe at Dalgety, and it was mainly to put myself and Ken through boarding school,” he said.
“She has made sacrifices the whole way through.”
He added the matriarch, who heads four generations, was an absolutely adorable figure in the family.
“We thought her hundredth birthday was special but she just keeps plodding along. We look forward to seeing her next birthday. She’s certainly proved herself as a stayer,” John said.
“We are hopeful that longevity runs in the family.”
Bea’s son Ian Brien built a new seat on the miniature train which allowed his mother to ride the rail.
This article first appeared on www.maitlandmercury.com.au
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