Not-for-profit aged care home Mercy Place Lathlain has been lighting an exceptional number of birthdays candles over recent months, with one resident reaching 105 just three months ago, and another set to celebrate her 95th birthday next month.
Malaysian-born Margaret MacFarlaine will spend her birthday – on Friday 14 July – surrounded by many members of her large family, which includes her eight children, 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
When it comes to reminiscing about her long life, the matriarch is never short of tales to tell given she has lived in many different countries during her nine decades and has learned to speak numerous languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Malay and Hindi.
Born in Penang on 14 July 1928, Margaret grew up in Malaysia and it was while working as a governess that she met her future husband, an Anglo-Indian British army officer, Yeoland (Mac) MacFarlaine who was in Penang on a peacekeeping mission.
The two immediately fell in love and within two weeks of meeting they married, going on to live in Penang for many years, as well as India and Kuching in Sarawak, before immigrating to Australia in 1978.
Daughter Yolanda MacFarlaine said the family always treasured spending time with Margaret, who she describes as the true matriarch of the family.
“It’s wonderful to have mum around, she is the oldest surviving member of our family and she has had the most amazing life, she is an incredibly smart cookie who has picked up different languages wherever she has lived,” she said.
“In her later life, one of her grandsons married a Japanese lady and, even though she hadn’t spoken Japanese for 60 years, the language came back to her quickly and she was able to converse very easily with her new granddaughter-in-law.”
Mercy Health Lathlain Service Manager, Ven Gireddy, says Margaret is an inspiring lady whose family remain dedicated to her.
“Everyone at Mercy Place Lathlain likes and respects Margaret very much and we’re all delighted that she has reached this major milestone, we’ll be making a big fuss of her on her birthday.