Letter from the Queen can’t top the card from the Hawks

By Riverine Herald

EDITH ‘Idie’ Roddick was pleased to receive a letter from the Queen to mark her 100th birthday.

But it was a card from her beloved Hawthorn Football Club that put the biggest smile on her face.

The Hawks well wishes were one of the many as Idie recently celebrated her milestone at Wharparilla Lodge.

Idie is the youngest child of Frederick Archibald Williams (known as Archie) and Florence Sarah Sexton. One of 11 children, Idie was born on June 22, 1918.

She grew up on the family farm at Bamawm Extension. It was a mixed farm with dairy cows, pigs, sheep and an orchard.

All children had to help on the farm before and after school. Idie said she was spoiled as the youngest child and was pleased to avoid having to milk the cows.

But her farm jobs included wrapping Golden Queen peaches in grape leaves, and packing them in boxes to sell at market.

Idie loved her childhood on the farm but wasn’t a big fan of school when she attended at Bamawm Extension

She moved to Melbourne when she left school where she worked as a milliner and eventually managed a hat shop in Little Collins St.

Described as a striking young woman, tall, slim and always fashionably dressed, Idie enjoyed going to dances, the theatre and concerts.

She was also a keen athlete, playing tennis and golf (something she would continue into her 80s).

After meeting the similarly sporty George Frederick Nicholls, Idie was married on November 28, 1942 and continued to live in Melbourne.

George was an electrician with the State Electricity Commission (SEC) and work and promotions took them around Victoria. Through the years they lived in Shepparton, Port Fairy and Camperdown.

Idie’s family grew with the arrival of two children, Alison in 1945 and Geoffrey in 1947.

Idie was active in many clubs including school mother’s club, tennis, golf, church groups and Rotary and she was a keen cook.

If you dropped in to her home for a cuppa, there was a good chance of a three-course selection of iced and decorated cakes and biscuits.

At home, she was a stickler for proper manners and protocol, butter was always curled and put in a dish, jam was properly served in a small dish with a spoon and serviettes were always worn while eating.

In 1972, Idie was in hospital having her gall bladder removed. She woke from the anaesthetic to the tragic news that George had suffered a heart attack and died while she was being operated on. He was 60 and Idie was only 54.

Idie continued living in Melbourne after George’s death and she met up with her friend Shirley, who she had worked with at the hat shop when she was younger.

A coincidental meeting with Shirley’s brother Noel Roddick eventuated in Idie marrying Noel in 1985.

They enjoyed ten years together before Noel’s death in 1995.

Idie said she always had a fascination with Antarctica and its animals.

Her room is adorned with photos of Antarctic seals and penguins.

Her adventurous spirit was never more evident than when she decided to visit Antarctica. She flew over it but wasn’t content.

She decided she needed to visit Antarctica and get her feet on the ground.

So at 81, Idie spent three weeks on a Russian icebreaker travelling to Antarctica.

She was very sick the entire journey but she was not deterred.

She took a tiny dinghy from the icebreaker out to an ice mass to achieve her goal.

Idie moved to Wharparilla Lodge in Echuca when she was 96.

She said she missed her garden and being outside, but one of the nicest things was her devoted children making regular trips to see her.

Her family has now expanded to include her four grandchildren (three girls and a boy) and seven great grandchildren (five boys and two girls).