CARPENTRY, knitting, pottery, china painting — calling Phyllis Whelan a Jill-of-all-trades seems like an understatement.
There’s been few classes the Wodonga woman hasn’t tried at Albury Wodonga Community College’s Creative Learners and, as she today celebrates her 96th birthday, she also claims the mantle of being the college’s longest-enrolled student.
Mrs Whelan is one of the original members from classes that begun as the School for Seniors 30 years ago.
“I like it,” she said simply yesterday, as she worked on a knitted coathanger cover.
“I’ve tried just about everything — craft, leadlighting, and linedancing, till it got too quick!
“I’ve got plenty of friends here, the company is wonderful.”
Born in Albury, Mrs Whelan is the last surviving of 11 siblings, “five boys and five girls, and then me”, and herself has three children, nine grandchildren and “too many great-grandchildren to count”.
She first joined the school in the mid 1980s, and even became a teacher in one of the classes herself, leatherwork, which she still teaches to this day.
It was clear Mrs Whelan is a popular member of the college, with many signing her birthday card and offering a gift of flowers yesterday for today’s milestone.
Among her friends — and sometimes pupil of leatherwork — were Lesley Baker, who said she was an excellent teacher.
“She’s a very practical lady,” she said.
“Nothing’s too much trouble and she’s always willing to help.”
And it seems there’s little chance of Mrs Whelan slowing down any time soon — there’s still plenty of things to learn.