Hazel's shock at landmark birthday

Published 10:00am 9 May 2024

Hazel's shock at landmark birthday
Words by Nick Crockford

Bribie Island’s Hazel Crow will celebrate her 100th birthday tomorrow with five generations of her family.

The Bribie Cove aged care resident is surprised she is about to become the newest member of the Bolton Clarke Centenarian Club.

“I can’t believe I’m going to be 100 because I never thought I would make it this far,” Hazel said.

“Pat and I had four children, three girls and one boy, and now I have six grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren who will all be celebrating with me.”

Hazel was born and raised on the Fraser Coast, where she grew up helping her parents on their Dundowran farm producing sugar cane, chickens and later vegetables.

Hazel on her wedding day

“I remember in the late 20s we couldn’t sell much so that’s when dad turned to farming vegetables,” she said.

“He would load up his old utility with the veggies and take them around the farms and for people who couldn’t afford them, he would give them away otherwise they would go to waste.

“I left school when I was 14 to help my mother around the house and she taught me a lot!”

Taking what she had learnt at home, Hazel moved out when she turned 17 to work in Maryborough as a nanny helping families around the town.

“After that I moved to Gladstone and worked in the railway refreshments room and I remember getting up early and walking to the station to prepare the food each day.

Hazel on her 60th birthday

“During the 1940s I wanted to sign up to the Army as a chef, but they wouldn’t let me leave the railway because I was needed there.”

Stumbling across her future husband Pat at the beach, Hazel would begin her life with him, raising their four children and pursuing a hospitality career in Brisbane.

“I worked my way up and became the head chef in the cafeteria at the University of Queensland with two chefs and a junior training to be a chef working with me.

“I would work all through the week and then on the weekends I catered for weddings.

“I still cooked for myself all the way up until I was 94 and I moved into Bribie Cove here – it was always my passion.”

Hazel will be celebrating her 100th birthday with her family on Friday May 10 with a special luncheon and an afternoon tea at Bribie Cove aged care home.

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