She climbed mountains at the age of 87 and rode her bicycle until she was 91 – now a Border great-grandmother has achieved 10 decades.
Elisabeth Hochwimmer enjoyed her 100th birthday on Tuesday with about 50 of her family and friends, who travelled from New Zealand, Philippines, Germany and Austria.
Born in the mountains of Salzburg, Austria, on February 5, 1919, Mrs Hochwimmer matriculated with distinction in the 1930s and rose to head one of the provincial government departments, unusual for females in those days.
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She and her husband Joseph, who died in 1988, migrated to Australia in 1954 with their three surviving children, having previously lost a baby during a bitterly cold winter.
They spent several years at Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre before building their own home in Lavington, where Mrs Hochwimmer maintained a large European-style garden of produce.
“I’d say she was doing permaculture before the word was even invented,” her son Bernhard said this week.
Well-known for her cooking – the best schnitzels according to visitors – she worked at Borg Warner, as it was then, until retirement, riding her bicycle to her job all year round.
“She was a bit of an identity, shopping on the handle bars,” her son said.
“She still walks every day, despite a pretty serious heart condition, she just gets out there and keeps doing it.”
Given her first computer at the age of 80, Mrs Hochwimmer liked following cosmology and jet propulsion laboratory imagery for NASA and keeping up with family news worldwide.
“Asked how she, her mother and sisters, one who nearly reached 104, lived to a very great age, she maintained it was that they all grew and used sage tea on a daily basis,” her family said.
A grandmother to nine and great-grandmother of 12, Mrs Hochwimmer moved into West Albury’s Riverwood Aged Care about six years ago.
Mr Hochwimmer said his mother had always led by examples of “extreme grit, independence, hard work and ethics”.
“She's a very kindly person but, I guess having been brought up in those days, very tough; extremely independent, but do anything for anybody,” he said.
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