"No smoking, no drinking and no gambling" - these are the three keys to life according to Australia's oldest man who's just celebrated his 109th birthday.
Sydneysider Frank Mawer turned 109 on Sunday, August 15, 2021 and celebrated in the most COVID-19 safe way with a Zoom party with up to 40 of his closest family and friends.
Mr Mawer took the title of Australia’s oldest man last month after Dexter Kruger, 111, passed away in Roma, Queensland.
Incredibly, Mr Mawer still lives on his own in his Gymea apartment supported by home care staff who drop by four days a week.
During the Zoom event, Mr Mawer was accompanied in his apartment by his son Barry, 75, as people logged on from the US, Britain, a grandson in Brazil and across Australia. Everyone had a cupcake in his honour.
Mr Mawer said his "no drinking, no smoking and no gambling" edict had served him well.
“These are three things you can choose. The way you live makes a difference. And the schooling costs of my six children was a worthy investment” Mr Mawer said.
While he has not had a drink for 80 years, Mr Mawer does confess to another vice -- Portuguese tarts from a local bakery on Gymea Road.
Mr Mawer had his first hip replacement in February this year, and according to Barry, he made an excellent recovery.
“To be honest, he seems to be in the best shape he’s being in for a while,” Barry said.
Mr Mawer said he can feel a little unbalanced walking these days. To help him avoid falls support handle bars have been installed around his unit, fixtures he says make his unit feel a little like a “bull pen”.
Asked about taking the Australia’s oldest man title, Mr Mawer, a regular attendee at Horizon Church at Sutherland, said: “God has been good to me”.
Born in 1912, Frank has lived through some tough times, including the deadly Spanish Flu pandemic as well as COVID-19. His mum passed away when he was a 12-year-old boy, resulting in him becoming a ward of the state.
Frank married his sweetheart Elizabeth, an Irish immigrant, in 1939. Together they raised six children. The extended family has grown to 13 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren.
Elizabeth passed away in 2011, aged 92. “It was a long marriage to a lovely girl,” Mr Mawer commented.
HammondCare Chief Executive Mike Baird said HammondCare At Home was honoured to work with Mr Mawer’s family to support him continue to live independently.
“Mr Mawer is without doubt the most inspiring individual – a family man and a man of faith. He is an example for us all about how to life the fullest,” Mr Baird said.
“Everyone at HammondCare extends to him the very best wishes as he celebrates his birthday with his family.”
Mr Mawer, who has had both COVID-19 vaccinations, is continuing to make plans for the future and paid a deposit at the Blue Lagoon Beach Resort, Bateau Bay, to stay in a beach front cabin in mid December.
Mr Mawer and the extended family have vacationed at the caravan park prior to Christmas for more than 60 years.