ISOBEL Hamlyn was born in Maffra on June 29, 1922, and celebrated her 100th birthday in Sale and Stratford last Wednesday.

Born to parents John and Victoria McLachlan, Isobel Margaret McLachlan grew up on a dairy farm at Tinamba where she loved to help out. Sadly, Isobel’s brother Lachlan and sister Patricia have died and did not get to join their other siblings Mary, 95, and John, 89, to celebrate Isobel’s 100th birthday.

Isobel began training as a nurse at age 24, and completed her training at Sale Hospital. In 1950, Isobel married sheep farmer Geoffry Hamlyn and moved to Stratford, a place they were to call home for 70 years, bringing up three children and helping on the sheep and cattle farm. Her three kids are Margaret, Gayle and Eric. Eric lives in the United States, but talks to his mum on the phone every week.

“I’ve had a very busy life,” Isobel told the Gippsland Times.

“I loved nursing, but I also loved going out on the farm when my husband needed help. I was sad when I lost my mother, my father, my husband, my sister and my brother, they’re the sad times.

“I was involved with all the organisations in Stratford as I grew older. There were friendly people. As it’s a very nice country town. I was very, very busy, all the time, that’s probably why I’m up to 100 years.”

Isobel was very involved with many community organisations: Brownies, swimming pool fundraisers, fire brigade, Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, and more.

Isobel’s daughter Margaret said that women during Isobel’s time got themselves heavily involved in the community.

“That’s just what they did. A lot of friendships were formed, and they worked hard to raise funds for their organisations,” Margaret said.

“Often the ladies in Stratford would go on holiday together, they were such good friends.”

Isobel has been legally blind for 35 years. It happened quite quickly in 1987.

“She lost her direct vision. But she still had peripheral vision, although not so much now,” Margaret said.

“It was very hard for her to give up driving suddenly. But she continued doing volunteer work. She was coordinator for Meals on Wheels when they started. She collected the money.”

Isobel received the Shire Citizen Award for her volunteer work on Australia Day in the mid-90s.

Isobel’s husband Geoff died from cancer in 1996 and she continued to live in the family home until three years ago.

“I’ve been at Royal Freemasons for almost three years. I’m nearly blind and don’t walk very well, but my general health is very good. I’m quite happy now, and they’re wonderful people here,” Isobel said.

“It’s amazing what (the staff) do here, they just do things automatically, you don’t have to ask them all the time.”

Isobel Hamlyn became a centenarian last week on Wednesday. Photo: Stefan Bradley.

Margaret said Isobel continues to keep in touch with friends and family by phone, and enjoys whenever someone visits.

“Mum has become part of the community in Freemasons, socialising with residents in the dining room and attending activities, and is well looked after by staff,” Margaret said.

“I believe that the stimulation of staff attending to her needs and socialisation with residents has extended her life and she is not lonely.”

Royal Freemasons staff and residents celebrated Isobel’s milestone as a centenarian with cake, party poppers, chardonnay (one of her favourite drinks), and a ‘happy birthday to you’ guitar-driven performance. Isobel was also inundated with flowers by loved ones and community groups she had been a part of.

Reflecting on her 100th birthday celebration, the much-loved Isobel said she saw it as just another birthday.

Isobel married Geoffry Hamlyn in 1950 and moved to Stratford, bringing up three children.

Isobel in nursing uniform circa 1950.

Isobel (centre) with sister Mary (95) and brother John (89). Photo: Contributed.

Isobel and her daughters Gayle and Margaret, and daughter-in-law Judy, during a birthday lunch in Stratford. Photo: contributed.