I felt I was 99 for years and I’m just glad to finally reach 100

By Riverine Herald

KEITH Silverwood considers himself to be a lucky man and he’s definitely seen his fair share of good fortune over his lifetime.

He recently celebrated his 100th birthday and he reminisced about the good old days.

Mr Silverwood spent much of his childhood and teenage life in St Kilda with his mother and father.

He lived in the same street as someone who would eventually become a special part of his life.

‘‘I lived on Robe Street, the same street as the Mayor, W. D. Sampson lived next door, but down the road was Olivia who would later become my wife,’’ Mr Silverwood said.

‘‘She had two brothers who used to be in my scouts group, and that’s how we officially met.’’

The couple would often spend time at the Palais Theatre or take free boat rides on the bay.

They would marry in 1943, but that’s not all that was going on in his life at the time.

Mr Silverwood joined the army in May 1940, at the age of 20, where he was needed for special war work.

‘‘It got to the stage where I was no longer needed and so I joined the RAAF in 1943,’’ he said.

‘‘I was in a unit in northern Australia, I never went overseas but covered a lot of Australia with a unit sourcing spare parts for vehicles of all sorts necessary for the war effort.’’

Keith continued to work in the automotive field after the war until his retirement and move to Echuca.

‘‘When I came here in 1980 I knew I wanted to fill in my days so I went and saw the port manager at the time and she gave me a job,’’ he said.

‘‘A unit was formed called the Echuca Steam Navigation Company and we used to provide crews to work on the steamers.

‘‘I think I made almost 1000 trips up and down the river on those paddlesteamers.’’

Keith said he believed he had a lucky life, particularly with the fortune he found later in life.

‘‘I owned a property in Echuca that turned out to be very valuable,’’ he said.

‘‘When I sold it, I knew I wouldn’t be taking the money to my grave so I wanted to give it to local charities.

‘‘I supported groups around town, such as Murray Human Services, Friends of Glanville Village, Neighbourhood House and so forth.’’

He has done well to have lived on his own until a few months ago when he moved into Menarock Life in Moama.

He celebrated his birthday at the weekend surrounded by family and friends.

‘‘My family came for the day and they had also invited a lot of people I hadn’t seen in years,’’ Keith added.

‘‘We spent Sunday afternoon at the Beer Shed, which worked out really well because it turned out that the meeting of the Victorian Division of the Beer Can Collectors (Keith was part of that group as well) was on there as well.’’

Party aside, Keith explained he was definitely ready to meet this big milestone.

‘‘It felt as though I was 99 for years and I’m just glad to have finally reached 100,’’ he said.