Menangle resident Heather Down celebrates century milestone

“My aim in life was to reach 100. I’m here and enjoying it.”

Menangle’s Heather Down (nee Hunt) reached her century milestone with family at Durham Green Retirement Village today, January 9.

Mrs Down, who has lived in Macarthur most of her life, said she was proud to toast her special day in Menangle.

“I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by a loving family,” she said.

Mrs Down was born at Katoomba Hospital on January 9, 1919.

The Blue Mountains facility was the nearest hospital available for the Menangle family.

Mrs Down grew up on a farm on Moreton Park Road with six siblings.

She helped out with milking cows each morning before walking about five kilometres to the Menangle primary school.

Her family then acquired a horse and cart which transported the children to school.

“The horse would be left with food and would stay next there all day before taking us home,” Mrs Down said.

Mrs Down attended high school in Granville for a couple of years.

She then turned her attention to becoming a seamstress, specialising in making wedding dresses.

Mrs Down married Alf Down at Menangle’s St James Anglican Church when she was 25 years old.

They moved to Auburn for two years before returning to Macarthur to set up their home in Campbelltown.

Mr Down set up a local engineering business and the couple had four children – Kevin, Gwen, Janice and Glenn.

Heather Down celebrates her 100th birthday with her children Gwen, Kevin, Janice and Glenn. Picture: Annie Down

Heather Down celebrates her 100th birthday with her children Gwen, Kevin, Janice and Glenn. Picture: Annie Down

After her husband died in 2011, Mrs Down remained in Campbelltown until she suffered a minor stroke last year.

She was diagnosed with glaucoma which caused her to become partially blind. 

Mrs Down moved to Menangle’s Durham Green Retirement Village about six months ago.

She said the key to reaching 100 was to “live an active life”.

“There was no time for sitting around while growing up,” Mrs Down said.

“I have been very fortunate to live a healthy life. I’ve had no serious health problems for most of my life.

“My Aunt lived to 102 years of age – that’s my next aim.”

Mrs Down’s son Kevin said his mother was also a keen gardener and tennis player in her younger days.

“Mum is a positive woman and is very family orientated,” Kevin said.

“She was very keen to reach 100 and has now returned home to Menangle.”

Mrs Down also has nine granchildren and 15 great-granchildren.