“The love of a woman” is the greatest gift in life, says John Lloyd, who turned 104 years old at Chamberlain Gardens Aged Care in Wyoming on Saturday.
The jackaroo, who was born in 1914 and grew up on a 70,000 acre cattle station in far north Queensland, ended up serving in the army at Oro Bay in Papua during World War II.
John didn’t attend formal schooling until he was 12, but received his first lessons through the mail where he lived on “Eurunga Station” before he was sent to boarding school in Charters Towers.
His son Jack said his Dad never spoke much about his time in the War, but came back with lots of butterflies he had collected and traded with the Americans who were also on the base.
John’s connection with the land continued after he returned from the War, when he became a Land Valuer for the Commonwealth Government.
“He likes to think of himself as a bushy. He was opening up country in remote far north Queensland, where he camped out with pack horses. He was very proud of the fact that he knew how open a barbed wire fence and put it back again,” Jack said.
John rose in the ranks to head the offices in Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra, and ended up Chairman of the Valuations Board.
He retired in 1979, and self-published a book called The Weeks Royalty, which details the discovery of oil in Bass Strait by US geologist Lewis Weeks.
John was committed to lifelong learning, and although he now finds it difficult to read, he still gets a number of magazine delivered to him at Chamberlain Gardens, including National Geographic, Time and Quadrant Magazine.
Jack describes him as a “cheeky rascal”, who has outlived two wives and still has a girlfriend who comes to visit him.
He celebrated his 104th birthday with family and friends at Chamberlain Gardens.
Although he has come a long way from his days as a jackaroo up in Queensland, he still has a watercolour painting of “Eurunga Station” on his wall.