4 October, 2023

Century milestone for Wamuran resident

Beaumont Care was abuzz at Wamuran last Thursday as one of its residents turned 100 years old.

Wamuran-based Jessie Morgan (second from right) marked her 100th birthday last week. She is pictured with Amanda (granddaughter), Cecilia (daughter) and Tamika (great granddaughter).
Wamuran-based Jessie Morgan (second from right) marked her 100th birthday last week. She is pictured with Amanda (granddaughter), Cecilia (daughter) and Tamika (great granddaughter).

A group of Jessie Morgan’s daughters, in-laws, grandchildren and great grandchildren attended the celebration of her historic birthday, while many residents at the aged care facility joined in the festivities.

Members of Jessie’s extended family travelled from the Gold Coast and NSW places including Woolooware, Helensburgh and Revesby Heights to mark the occasion.

A special cake and many other sweets were among the treats, while tea and coffee and soft drink were also served.

One of the tables contained a collection of photos of Jessie and her family from over the years, while there was also a copy of her birth certificate and a birthday card from King Charles.

Born in the Scottish city of Aberdeen, Jessie Thom Morgan (née Murray) and her parents travelled to Australia by boat when Jessie was just two years of age.

An only child, Jessie was quite sick at times as it took more than seven months for the boat to reach Australian shores.

After the family lived in Penshurst, the family’s home was based in Peakhurst for 45 years before Jessie and her daughter Cecilia moved to Grose Vale.

After finishing school, Jessie was an aircraftwoman teleprinter operator from 1942 to 1945.

Jessie married Arthur Morgan in 1947 and raised a family of three daughters and two sons, but tragedy struck in 1971 when Arthur died of a brain tumour.

Cecilia, who was only five years old when she lost her dad, said Jessie had been very career-driven and wasn’t keen to conform to the supposedly female roles of the time which revolved around homemaking.

Jessie didn’t even obtain her driver licence until the age of 47, having done a lot of walking and catching buses until then.

After being widowed, however, Jessie found herself needing to focus on household duties as she raised her children while the eldest son, Richard, was in the Air Force and often came home to help out.

The eldest daughter, Christina, left school at the age of 15 to work and to help with family duties.

Cecilia recalled that her siblings Robert and Theresa also helped Jessie, with Robert involved with the lawns and home maintenance while Theresa did daily chores and helped look after Cecilia.

“Mum said she was very grateful to have a wonderful helpful family,” Cecilia said.

“We all pulled together in hard times.”

Eventually, Jessie was able to focus on work outside her family life. She undertook numerous catering roles, including at the Sydney Easter Show, and she also worked in cake shops as a sales assistant and with window dressing.

Jessie also worked for 21 years as a librarian at Punchbowl Primary School.

After Jessie and Cecilia moved to Grose Vale, horses became a big part of Cecilia’s life. Cecilia recalled her mum “pushing a wheelbarrow of manure up the hill on 42-degree days”.

Following 14 years in the Blue Mountains area, Jessie and Cecilia moved north of the border and settled in Wamuran.

Jessie became a grandmother of seven, and to this day she has had seven great-grandchildren.

“She looked after me, then we swapped roles,” Cecilia said.

“She taught us girls to be independent and strong-willed.”

Cecilia said the key to her mum’s long life was that she was “quite the dancer from the age of three years” as Jessie was involved in ballet, tap and ballroom dancing.

“Mum would meet up with her friends and go dancing at the school of art or CWA halls nearly every night, from the city town hall out to Penshurst and Peakhurst. That is where she met (my) dad Arthur,” Cecilia said.

“The passion for dance was passed down to us all – grandchildren and great-grandchildren – from making costumes, going to concerts and curling hair.

“Mum enjoyed it all.

“The boys loved playing football and we were lucky to live opposite Peakhurst Park.”

Cecilia said her mum was a big believer in outside activities.

“We were all lucky to have a family cottage down the South Coast Sanctuary Point to go for school holidays,” Cecilia said.

“(We went) to the beach, swimming, prawning at night, riding our push bikes.

“When everyone had grown up, mum and I started travelling around Australia then overseas just in holiday time, (which was) something mum said she would love to do and we did over 10 years to tick her bucket list.”

Jessie had a stroke at the age of 92 and has battled vascular dementia since then, and in early 2020 she moved into the Wamuran-based Beaumont Care facility.

“She calls it home,” Cecilia said.

“She likes tea, sweets, sitting in the sun and commenting on the garden.”

Cecilia, who still resides in Wamuran, said she visits her mum each day.

While Jessie remains lucid on some days, she is prone to sleep for several hours on other days.


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