Australia’s oldest man, Frank Mawer of Central Tilba, says the secret to living a long life is a simple, if not an overly popular, concept: “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I don’t gamble”.
Frank celebrates his 110th birthday on Monday, 15 August.
When he reflects on his long life, Frank, a proud father of six, says that family is by far his greatest achievement.
“There are 12 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and three or four great-great-grandchildren,” he said.
“I get a lot of birthday cards.”
Frank is no stranger to technology and capably uses FaceTime and Zoom calls to stay in touch with family and friends. On Saturday he will jump on a Zoom call with his large family, to celebrate his latest milestone.
“All the family will be on the call because we’re from all over the place,” Frank’s son Phillip Mawer said.
Frank has been Australia’s oldest man since July 2021 and is Australia’s second oldest person – Gwen Moore takes out that title, just months shy of her 111th birthday.
Frank enjoys living at Central Tilba, and particularly likes a drive to Mystery Bay.
When asked what the secret to his longevity was, Frank was unsure.
“I don’t know,” he said. “A lot of people wouldn’t agree with me but I don’t drink and I don’t smoke and I don’t gamble. I’ve also been a religious person from 18 years of age.”
Frank was born in 1912, just before the Great War, and as a young child was made a ward of the state.
“My mother had passed away and I, along with my three sisters, became wards of the state,” he said. “But I was treated quite well and when I look back it was the best thing that could happen to me because we were in the Depression era of the 1930s.”
Frank has lived through two world wars and began his working life at the age of 14 on a dairy farm.
“I also worked for the Army,” he said, “putting up a big building in Queensland.”
Frank credits technology for allowing him to stay in contact with his large and loving family but worries at how technology based the world is now.
“The technology has gone too far,” he said. “We have advanced that far that people find it difficult to make a living now.”
Frank moved to Central Tilba to live with his son Phillip, and Phillip’s partner, Stuart Absalom, last year. Before that, he lived independently in a unit at Gymea Bay, supported by Hammondcare.
In March, Frank suffered a small stroke and spent six weeks in South East Regional Hospital at Bega, including time in the rehabilitation unit. However, he made a strong recovery and was discharged on the Traditional Aged Care Program (TACP).
“The support from this program was impressive and we’re grateful that this was available,” Phillip said.
Original Article published by Sally Foy on About Regional.