Long-standing Nelligen resident Rita Butcher turned 100 on Tuesday, July 2.
A spectacular birthday party was held on Sunday, June 30, with 120 guests attending at the Mechanics Institute Hall at Nelligen.
Rita was born in Goulbourn where she lived until nearly 10 years of age.
Her parents ran a small shop in Auburn St. Due to ill health, her father was advised to move north. The family of seven relocated to Marrickville, Sydney.
On turning 14 and leaving school, Rita started her first job in a shirt factory and during World War II, helped make army uniforms with blacked-out windows until 9pm at night, then travelled home by train.
Marrying Jack Butcher in 1942, they then moved to Nelligen in January, 1954 with three small girls - Elaine (10), Shirley (7) and Faye (6). Later, being blessed with a son, John.
Old residents might remember Jack operating the ferry across the Clyde River on the Kings Highway, Nelligen.
While Rita ran the Small Tea Pot Inn, with refreshments of scones, ice-cream milkshakes, sandwiches, tea and coffee, it was situated on the Batemans Bay side of the Clyde River.
Rita was an active sports woman, playing tennis, golf and bowls, joining Batemans Bay and Tomakin bowls clubs and becoming a bowls umpire for many years.
In the early eighties, she also joined the Order of the Eastern Star Masonic chapter in Milton/Ulladulla and for a time became the Worthy Matron.
Her eldest daughter, Elaine, and son, John, reside still in Nelligen, with Shirley at Bemboka and Faye in Newcastle.
Rita still lives at home. She has the love and constant care of her family: four children, 12 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren, 11 great great grandchildren, totalling in 54 descendants.
Local family and visitors travelled from Perth, Toowoomba, Mildura, ACT, Newcastle and Sydney for this momentous occasion.
Congratulations were received from Queen Elizabeth II, Governor-General the Honourable David Hurley, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Bega MP Andrew Constance.
A wonderful day was enjoyed by all attending. A true inspiration to so many. Happy 100th, Rita!
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