ALTHOUGH Nancy Moore has seen a century of change in her lifetime, she quietly wishes she could be around another 50 years to see what the world will be like.
“I don’t feel old. Actually I don’t know where all the years have gone because I’ve been so busy,” she told The Standard before her 100th birthday tomorrow.
“I’m yet to finish writing the family history.”
Mrs Moore has witnessed most of the great technological changes, spanning an era when horses and carts were common family transport and international news took about four days to reach her district.
She’s outlived her three sisters and is the last surviving grandchild of James Anderson, who arrived in Port Fairy from Scotland in the 1850s.
Nancy is also the oldest surviving former pupil of Woodford Primary School and possibly of Grassmere Primary and the former Warrnambool Technical School, which she also attended.
At one stage in her working career she was effectively Warrnambool’s most influential woman, filling in for the town clerk. She attributes her longevity and sharp mind to good genes and a strong ethic for work and community volunteering.
“Mum used to say idle fingers get into mischief.”
From the time she was born Nancy Vickers in the former Ingpen’s private hospital (now Francis Foundation Alveston House) her life was abuzz with activity.
Her father was a dairy inspector for Nestle and supported his wife and four daughters in a former church manse at Grassmere.
“It was a marvellous childhood, full of fun and adventure,” Nancy recalled.
“I was a bit of a tomboy who loved climbing trees and riding horses.”
For secondary education, Nancy boarded in Warrnambool while attending the technical school and travelled home again on Fridays in a horse and cart driven by her mother, an hour’s travel.
“We were fortunate to have parents who insisted on us having a secondary education,” she said.
But times were tough in the Depression so she left full-time school after three years and took up a temporary job in a hardware store and timber yard where the Target store now stands. It led to an opening at the woollen mill office before accountant Ronald Mack recruited her.
Mr Mack was badly wounded in the Second World War, but went on to become a long-serving state politician and received the first knighthood for a former Warrnambool resident.
“He was a marvellous man,” Nancy said.“One day just prior to the war he said I was needed in the town hall and advised me to take the position which had opened up.
“I was secretary to town clerk Henry Worland and after the assistant town clerk Keith Arnel went off to war I filled that role for a while.
“When Mr Wormald was away sick I had to do his duties and effectively performed the town clerk’s role.”
Nancy minuted town council meetings for about 15 years and was privy to top-level decisions and discussions.
“There were 12 councillors back then and despite their differences in debates they all got along well,” she recalled.
Wartime efforts also entailed being an aircraft spotter before work in the morning, blackout warden patrolling streets at night and assisting hospital ward staff.
Her municipal life ended after she married Perc Moore in 1951, because custom of the day required married women to vacate their full-time working posts.
She then threw herself into voluntary work and raising a son and stepson, plus assisting her husband in various business undertakings.
For 40 years she was in the Warrnambool Base Hospital auxiliary, about 20 years with Koroit hospital auxiliary and 15 years with Lyndoch nursing home, plus many years delivering Meals on Wheels.
She and her late husband had a long involvement with a community association which welcomed and hosted overseas students studying in Warrnambool.