Betty Anderson received a visit from 'the Queen' (Leister Place's recreation officer Jeanette McMaster) during her 100th birthday celebrations Tuesday
Betty Anderson received a visit from 'the Queen' (Leister Place's recreation officer Jeanette McMaster) during her 100th birthday celebrations Tuesday Jann Houley

Queen Elizabeth visits Betty on her hundredth

When asked how she made it to a hundred, Betty Anderson from North Rockhampton put it down to a life in the bush.

"We had no motor car - only a horse and buggy - and no television, no telephone,” she said.

"Riding horses chasing cattle, that was my life.”

Elizabeth 'Betty' Anderson was born into the Depression era between the world wars, and adopted into a farming family in Moonah, south of Ipswich.

She was sent out to clean houses for five shillings a week.

Unlike many other women her age, Mrs Anderson didn't marry until she was nearly 30 and didn't have children.

She and her husband, Bill, were married at the old St Andrews church in Rockhampton in 1948, before they took on a cattle property out near Theodore.

"My father taught me to do cattle work but when I offered to work on the station, my husband said he didn't expect me to leave the house,” she said.

"One day, the cattle came down to water and they started to race, so I galloped my horse to the lead and headed them off.

"My husband said, 'I didn't know I'd married a jilleroo as well as a cook'.”

Sadly, her husband suffered heart and lung problems as a result of his wartime service, and he passed away in 1963.

Mrs Anderson moved to Rockhampton where she made a living as a dressmaker.

Having survived bowel cancer, she remains active in such organisations as the War Widows, Legacy, and the Church guild, with the help of her niece, Marion Becker.

"I used to crochet but I have osteoarthritis in my hands now,” she said.

"My eyes are going too, but I like to read the paper and keep up with the royal family in the magazines.”

The staff at her aged care facility, Leinster Place, even organised a visit from 'Queen Elizabeth' during her hundredth birthday party on Tuesday.

When asked about how women will face the next century, Mrs Anderson said she worried women didn't have time to give to community organisations any more.

"We only had the wood stove to watch over and keep going; today the women only have to press a button... but they still don't have any time,” she said.

"They're too busy working to buy everything to have time to spend together.”