Family celebrates six generations of women

A VERY LONG FEMALE LINE: Diane (back left), Sandra holding Charli, Joan, Vanessa (front left) and Melissa meet all together for the first time.
A VERY LONG FEMALE LINE: Diane (back left), Sandra holding Charli, Joan, Vanessa (front left) and Melissa meet all together for the first time.

LITTLE Charli Clark caught up with her grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother and, yes, great-great-great-grandmother during a visit to Albury.

Six generations of women from one family gathered at The Bullring Bar and Restaurant at Siesta Resort Albury to celebrate a milestone for one of their number.

Melbourne’s Sandra Heald marked her 50th birthday in the company of her mother, Diane Cofield, 68, of Wahgunyah, and grandmother Joan Diffey, 93, who lives at Allans Flat.

But the guests also included Ms Heald’s daughter, Melissa Fox, 33, of Melbourne, granddaughter, Corowa’s Vanessa Hyden, 16, and great-granddaughter Charli, six months.

A quick search reveals six living generations to be rare, with examples in Britain, Canada and the US in recent years but none immediately apparent in Australia.

This surprised the Albury group, which had expected to come across similar stories.

And Mrs Diffey appeared to be the youngest of the known great-great-great-grandmothers.

Guinness World Records lists seven generations as the most ever living, created in 1989 with the birth of 109-year-old American Augusta Bunge’s great-great-great-great-grandson.

In another Border twist, Mrs Fox, the mother of Miss Hyden, gave birth to a son, Morgan, two months ago.

“He’s the uncle of Charli and he’s actually younger,” Mrs Fox said with a smile.

Last week’s party was the first time the six generations had been able to meet all together since Charli’s birth.

“We all originated in Albury,” Mrs Fox said. “I was born there, Vanessa was born in Wodonga, Charli was born in Wodonga, that’s why we had it back in Albury.”

Mrs Fox, presently on maternity leave, works in hospitality while Ms Heald is a nurse. Mrs Cofield recently retired from her country mail route and Mrs Diffey has a cattle farming background.

“Joan is fantastic, she’s 93 and she is sharp as a tack,” Mrs Fox said.

“She was very happy to have everyone all together.”

The family accepted motherhood at some young ages had made their generational feat possible.

“Look, it’s all just been circumstances, I think in the olden days it was more common,” Mrs Fox said.

“It’s not as common these days but we’re all very happy.”