Family planning meal of the century

Right at home: Beaming Mt Eliza centenarian Vic Shadforth ready to celebrate a special milestone. Picture: Gary Sissons

Right at home: Beaming Mt Eliza centenarian Vic Shadforth ready to celebrate a special milestone. Picture: Gary Sissons

A BIRTHDAY celebration of special significance on 6 July will honour long-term Mt Eliza resident Victor Ian Hamilton Shadforth, of Jackson’s Rd, who turns 100.

It will be held at Josephine’s Restaurant, The Briars, for close family and friends.

Mr Shadforth has had a bit of practice with grand events: his 99th birthday was held at Heronswood Homestead, Dromana.

He met wife Patricia, of Lapoinya, Tasmania, at a community singing event, which was a popular form of entertainment for young people before the war. They were married in 1937 and lived happily for 73 years until her death in 2010. They have two daughters, Beverley and Grace.

The couple lived in Mt Eliza for 40 years and, before that, holidayed on family camping trips to Rye during the war years.

Named after the British General, Sir Ian Hamilton, who commanded the Gallipoli operations during WWI, Mr Shadforth was born at Cobram, Victoria, in 1915. His father was a town identity as the barber and captain of the fire brigade and football club.

On leaving school, Mr Shadforth became the first curator of the Cobram Barooga Golf Club, riding his bicycle to and from the club, and around the course attending to the sand-scrape “greens”.

He was paid 25 shillings a week, plus a new set of bike tyres each year. After being turned down for a pay rise in 1936, Mr Shadforth moved to Melbourne, living with his sister Minetta and brother-in-law Charlie, in Oakleigh. He and Charlie set up a concreting business and rode to suburbs as far away as Balwyn, carrying their tools with them. At this time, Mr Shadforth played for Oakleigh Football Club. He later took up golf and after moving to Mt Eliza joined Long Island Country Club.

When war broke out, Mr Shadforth tried to enlist for active service but was rejected for medical reasons, being blind in his right eye. Instead, he joined the Civil Construction Corp and was sent to different parts of Victoria building and repairing bridges, roads and other infrastructure.

One of these postings was to Mornington where he and his young family were billeted at a guest house in Tanti Av run by a Mrs Heron. After the war, for many years, the family spent their summer holidays camping on the foreshore at Rye.

Mr Shadforth was self-employed for all of his working life in concreting, machine hire and quarrying.

He and Patricia’s time in Mornington during the war endeared them to the peninsula and, on retirement in the 1970s, they decided to move to Mt Eliza, close to the beach and lifestyle they loved.

He has lived there ever since.

Daughter Beverley was born in 1938, and Grace (Dorothy Grace), in 1941. Beverley married Geoff Stephens, and they have a son, Gregory. Grace married David Rew, a long term Mt Eliza real estate agent, and they have a daughter, Jennifer, and son David (deceased).

The great grandchildren, all young adults, are Tim, married to another Grace in 2014, Chris, who is engaged to Erin and Michelle and Kirsty.

Grace and David, Jennifer and husband Rob, along with – of course – Mr Shadforth, all live in Mt Eliza.

Mr and Mrs Shadforth reportedly had a happy retirement, loving their garden, golf, beach, and family.

“Vic always had a dog, usually a Labrador, walking daily on the beach, and enjoying meeting up with other regular walkers and their dogs,” granddaughter Jennifer Gassin said.

“He was a great gardener and always has a beautiful garden. He has a little help with it now, but still takes an interest and pride in it. His tomato growing skills are legendary and he still grows and tends to his tomato plants.”

Until recently, Ms Shadforth attended the Mt Eliza Senior Citizens (over 55s), and now does an exercise class weekly in Mornington.

“Vic enjoys the friendliness of the people and the strong sense of community in Mt Eliza,” Ms Gassin said. “He is familiar with very many faces and people when he is in the village, where he is well known.

“He especially enjoys the company of his cat, Bonnie.”

First published in the Mornington News – 16 June 2015


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