Former Gunnedah resident Lucy Kelty has reached the magnificent milestone of 105 years and still has very fond memories of the community she embraced when she moved to her adopted town with her husband Merv in 1963.
Now a proud grandmother of 15, Lucy has a lasting legacy in her family of 32 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Lucy and Mervyn were blessed with five children – Leonie Webb (now of Inverell), Kerry Cushan (Buderim Queensland), Murdoch (Raymond Terrace), Nigel (North Epping) and Pauline Clark (Bathurst).
The youngest of eight children born to Murdoch and Lucy Campbell, Lucy came into the world at ‘Oban’ Coolatai, 40 miles (64.3 kms) north of Warialda, on January 5, 1919.
She remembers with affection growing up on the large property, where they had to be self-sufficient, baking 48 loaves of bread a week, milking their own cows to make butter, making their own soap and robbing bee hives for honey.
When Lucy was young, she walked to school, but was very excited when her father purchased a pony, Minty, which she rode to a neighbouring property where classes were held.
For entertainment the neighbours came around for games of tennis or they had dances and balls in the local halls. A horse and sulky was their mode of transport, so the 40 miles to town was a long and arduous trek, not undertaken very often.
During World War II Lucy and her mother had to run the property while her brothers were at war so they became proficient at the many jobs required to keep the farm productive.
When Lucy’s brother came home on R&R leave from war service in New Guinea, he introduced his sister to a handsome young Lieutenant who was to become the love of her life.
Merv Kelty served with the 53/55 AIF and was discharged on October 16, 1945, after their marriage at Inverell in 1944.
Merv had worked as a postmaster before taking up a position as secretary at the Peak Hill Hospital.
Their Gunnedah connection began in 1963 when they moved to the town from Peak Hill.
Merv worked for a short time at JT Fossey and then in the accounts section at McDonagh’s Department Store for many years before joining his son-in-law Al Cushan at Gun Soft Drinks.
The couple became very involved in the Gunnedah Municipal Brass Band where Mervyn was in the president’s chair when the new band hall was constructed.
He had always loved music and encouraged his sons Nigel and Murdoch to be involved, with his grandsons Peter, Adrian and Scott Cushan later carrying on the tradition.
For many years Lucy worked tirelessly on the auxiliary, raising funds for the band, while in her earlier years she had helped raise funds for the Royal Far West Children’s Scheme at Inverell and served as secretary of the hospital auxiliary.
Lucy had lived through the Great Depression and the war years but always considered herself blessed.
As the years rolled by, Lucy and Merv celebrated their golden wedding anniversary but in 1995 life changed when Mervyn suffered a stroke.
They left their much-loved adopted town to live with their daughter Pauline in Bathurst and after 53 years of marriage Mervyn passed away.
Today Lucy enjoys watching sport on television, with rugby league a speciality – she knows many of the players and their positions and is a fan of the Newcastle Knights.
She has always taken a great interest in the lives of her descendants and till loves to communicate with all her family, as often as possible.
Lucy looks back with fondness on her life and has no regrets.To order photos from this page click here