Glenda Rogan, grandaughter of Winifred Jefferies (oldest female student) and daughter Bev Morgans were at the Grafton High School's 100 years school assembly on Saturday morning. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
Glenda Rogan, grandaughter of Winifred Jefferies (oldest female student) and daughter Bev Morgans were at the Grafton High School's 100 years school assembly on Saturday morning. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner

FINAL TRIBUTE: Read the touching eulogy to Win Jefferies

WIN Jefferies touched a lot of people's lives in her 108 years, a familiar face to those who knew her as she lived out her life at Dougherty Villa.

With her warm nature, sharp wit and zest for living, she inspired all those around her.

With permission of the family, as a final tribute, here is her eulogy as delivered by granddaughter Glenda Rogan at her funeral service.

Vale Win.

Winifred Jefferies, spends a quiet moment with a piece of cake as she prepares to celebrate her 107th birthday.
Winifred Jefferies, spends a quiet moment with a piece of cake as she prepares to celebrate her 107th birthday.

Welcome everyone. What a job I have here today to put 108 years of life in a few pages. Anyway I will do my best to give you an insight into the life of Win Jefferies.

Win was actually born on the 23rd of August 1912 not the 24th of August. We discovered this when she was turning 100 and needed her birth certificate. She said she wasn't changing the date as she had celebrated her birthday for 99 years on the 24th August and 1912 was the year the Titanic went down.

She was named Winifred Matilda apparently after the midwife that delivered her at Southgate, where she started life with her father George and mother Eughemia Chevalley. She had three brothers Francis, Victor and Ian (Jack) and five sisters Annie, Mary (Molly), Caroline (Carrie), Jean and Inez.

In 1914 when Win was two years old, she moved to Coldstream Rd where she grow up. She started school in Tucabia when she was six-and-a-half, and she went there for one year then went to Gillett's Ridge School until she was 12. Every district had their own school, she told me she walked three miles to school and there were no bikes then. Some children rode horses as all schools had horse paddocks. Every Friday afternoon schools visited each other and played competition games. They played tennis, basketball and Vigoro, a game like cricket.

Win Jefferies is 104 on Wednesday next week.
Win Jefferies is 104 on Wednesday next week.

Win told me this story about a gentleman who was a cream carter. He collected cream to be taken into Ulmarra factory and he had a covered in wagon and two horses. He lived in Tucabia and came over Briner Bridge and down the hill to Gillett's Ridge in the mornings. When they were going to school sometimes he would give them a ride and sometimes he would not stop. If he did not stop the kids, who were about three or four, would hang on to the back of his cart. He would get his whip out and rap them over the knuckles, as fast as he knocked one off another one would hang on. He would then stop and in a cranky voice would say get in. They would then climb in, quite pleased to get a ride in the cart to school.

She lived on a dairy farm and all the children had to help with chores. Someone would get the wood and chips for the morning fire, as they had a fuel stove with two black kettles for hot water. These were kept hot as someone might want a cup of tea.

When her father was working on the farm a long way from the house, at 10 o'clock her mother would make morning tea in a basket and send a billy of tea. One of the children would take it down to the farm for her father and they would sit under an Oaktree and have morning tea.

Win told me her father had a bush paddock at Pillar Valley. She said he used to go out there sometimes for a few days to do some work clearing. Win, about 11, and her sister Caroline and brother Ian) who was 7 years old at the time, used to get lunch packed and walk out in the morning, have the whole day out there then walk home in the evening about 10 miles return. There were some big water holes along the way where they used to catch fish as well and pick fresh fruit of fruit trees and eat on the way home. She told me there wasn't any fruit flies then.

In 1927 Win went to high school in Grafton for two years. Grafton had the first high school outside the cities. She rode a bike five miles into Calliope to catch the school bus to school, then when they got to South Grafton she would catch the ferry to cross the Clarence River to Grafton. She told me there was also a ferry called (The Swallow) that used to take the train carriages across the river, it took three or four trips to get one train across. The bridge was opened in 1932.

Winifred Jefferies celebrates her 101st birthday on Saturday, August 24. Photo Georja Ryan / Daily Examiner
Winifred Jefferies celebrates her 101st birthday on Saturday, August 24. Photo Georja Ryan / Daily Examiner

Shows were held at the Grafton Showground every year that went for three days. They had a big pavilion where all things were displayed. Circuses came around regularly, they used to have lots of animals, now all gone.

The only biscuits available when Win was young was arrowroot and Sao's, now there are dozens of varieties. They made their own clothes as few were ready made. For enjoyment they had a gramophone or played cards. Radio came in about 1930 and TV about 1955, electricity came in 1926 each centre had it's own opening to turn the power on. There was one at Gillett's Ridge near the old school house. They had a big carnival, the power was turned on lighting up the place. A great advancement on lamps and candles.

They had candles to go to bed and lamps on the table in the dining room, lanterns were used for outside. Her father grew corn for the chooks, and when it was ripe it was picked and put into the barn, the kids had to go up after tea and help husk with a lantern for a light. Everyone travelled by horse and sulky, a few had buggies drawn by two horses. Her family got their first car in 1926, a navy blue Overland. It cost 126 pounds, that was when cars first came in, very few had cars then.

Growing up Win and her sisters absolutely loved organising a new outfit for an upcoming event. Whether it was horse races or the local dances, they would have made the dresses themselves and they really put a big effort into looking their best.

In 1931 Win married Eric Jefferies and together they raised three children Basil, Val and Beverley on their farm at Calliope. They lived off the land growing their own fruit, vegetables, cattle, pigs and poultry and grew crops. Win was very proud of her lovely flower garden and very productive veggie patch. Also they had lots of beautiful fruit trees. As a child I remember wandering through the fruit trees eating fresh fruit as we walked and talked.

Win and Eric had a dairy herd that they milked morning and night until sometime in the 1960s. They also had a banana plantation at Skinners Rd, Pillar Valley. They used to go out there and work harvesting banana's and packing them to send to Sydney markets in between milking.

Win was always a fabulous cook I always looked forward to her cooking it was such a treat.

Win and Eric loved nothing more than a day out at the races where they could catch up with family and friends. A good excuse for a new dress and shoes which Win loved and always looked stunning.

Win Jefferies & Elsie Hale both over 100 years from Dougherty Villa at the U.H.A. Christmas Morning Tea
Win Jefferies & Elsie Hale both over 100 years from Dougherty Villa at the U.H.A. Christmas Morning Tea

Win was a great lover of fashion, clothes and beads and always had to look immaculate and she certainly did achieve that. She used to say to me when I was coming to visit her for a special occasion, 'I hope you're not wearing jeans'. I think in heaven she would be teaching them a thing or two about makeup and presentation. Only two weeks ago when she was in hospital she said to me, next time you are down town could you please get me some more makeup.

They enjoyed many visits to Wooli where they had a beach house. They would go fishing and spend time at the beach, they also used to go to local dances where they would catch up with family and friends and spending precious time with the grandchildren.

In 1980 Win and Eric left the farm and moved to Norrie St, South Grafton where they lived for 18 years. After Eric passed away Win moved to Richard Close and she lived there until she was 92. I remember getting a call to say Win was very ill in Grafton Base Hospital, she was having heart attacks and the only thing that would save her was if she went to Sydney and had some stents in. So they wanted someone to go with her. I remember booking a flight from Brisbane to Sydney as I lived in Queensland at the time, I was on the phone to Grafton Base Hospital and they said don't leave yet don't know if she is going to make it or not, so I missed that flight and waited. I then got a call she was on the plane heading to Sydney so I got on the next flight. Arrived at The Royal North Shore Hospital first before Win, not long after they were wheeling her around the corner on a bed. First thing she said to me was it was so hot on that little plane. I said to her why didn't you ask them to pull the blinds down and she replied I didn't like to complain. Anyhow she got her stents in and lived another 16 years.

She moved to Doughetry Villa when she was 92 years old. Doughetry Villa has been her home ever since. She was so blessed to taken in and cared for like one of the family.

On April 7, 2012 Win was given the honour of cutting the 100th anniversary cake at Grafton High together with Ken Weeks as she was the oldest ex pupil at 99 years and Ken was the oldest man at 98 years old. It was a big day in Grafton.

Grafton High School's Centenary celebrations saw the school's two oldest living students Winifred Jefferies (99) and Ken Weeks (98) with school captains Jake Slattery and Nichola Vlastaras and principal Peter South cut the cake while at the 100 years celebration school assembly on Saturday morning. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
Grafton High School's Centenary celebrations saw the school's two oldest living students Winifred Jefferies (99) and Ken Weeks (98) with school captains Jake Slattery and Nichola Vlastaras and principal Peter South cut the cake while at the 100 years celebration school assembly on Saturday morning. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner

Up until several years ago when Win's sight deteriorated she used to read about six books a week and do crosswords, keeping her mentally very active.

Win made beautiful crocheted rugs and even well past her 100th birthday she still entered them in the Grafton Show and won prizes.

About nine years ago Win told me she had a custard apple tree for me as she had thrown some seeds in her garden, so she potted it and gave it to me. After seven years it turned out to be a persimmon tree, which now has pride of place in my garden. I now call it the granny tree.

Win looked forward to catching up with her extended family of eight grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and six great great grandchildren when they came to visit.

I would like to make special mention of Kevin Hogan, Lynne Mowbray and Ros Houlahan and anyone else involved in arranging a special surprise for Win's 108th birthday. She idolised Roger Federer, and these lovely people I have mentioned managed to get an Australian Open cap signed by Roger Federer and presented it Win last Wednesday, which brought a huge smile to her face. She said she loved Roger because he was such a good sport and didn't throw his racquet down. That was such a special memory that will remain with all involved.

The staff and Dougherty Villa community have been absolutely amazing going above and beyond to make Win's life so full of love and support. Special mention must go Chaplain David Seymour, Dr Jones and the nurses that cared for Win in her final days, you are absolute angels. The family are so grateful for everything you have done for Win we really do appreciate it.

Southgate born and bred Winifred Jefferies celebrates her 103 birthday in fine style at Dougherty Villa on Sunday. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
Southgate born and bred Winifred Jefferies celebrates her 103 birthday in fine style at Dougherty Villa on Sunday. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner

Win's family would also like to thank the wider Clarence Valley community and beyond, the local newspapers for accepting Win into their hearts and lives and making her birthday celebrations such an amazing event this year as well as previous years. She did get such joy and much happiness from all the lovely messages and birthday wishes, it did put a big smile on her face and I am sure touched her heart.

We are all so lucky we live in such an amazing community and we will hold these memories in our hearts forever. After 108 years, the charismatic face who lived the last years of her life at Dougherty Villa inspired those around her with her sharp wit, and warm nature.



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