100 and counting

The smiling Ray Whiting turns 100 today.
The smiling Ray Whiting turns 100 on December 17.

With a broad smile on his face and a cheeky quip about not feeling that old, today Ray Whiting celebrates his 100th birthday today (December 17)..

Born on December 17, 1913 to James and Elsie Whiting in Adelong, Ray has witnessed a world change at a rapid rate and can hardly believe he is as old as his birth certificate claims.

“I don’t feel that old and definitely don’t feel 100,” Mr Whiting said. “The thing is though, your body can’t do all the things your mind still thinks it can.

“It is hard not having your independence the same as when you were living at your own place and not many of my friends are still around. I’ve had a great life and family has been important to me.”

Growing up with an older sister, Ella and four younger brothers Ken, Gordon, Trevor and Baden, Ray attended Yaven Creek School, walking some two miles to get there, with plenty adventures along the way.

Attending all the local dances and playing cricket for Yaven Creek, Ray met the love of his life, Dulcie at Sharps Creek.

Deciding she was the girl for him, Ray wed Dulcie on July 25, 1936.

After their marriage the pair lived at Yaven Creek where Ray worked for Harry Pearce on his property for nine years.

The Whitings embraced the self-sufficient life that seemed easily achievable in those days. They greeted sons Peter and Jeff into their lives and enjoyed social outings with friends around the district.

Growing her own vegetables was something Dulcie was well known for. Along with a henhouse full of chooks and producing their own meat, the addition of Dulcie’s fine culinary skills ensured Ray was always well fed.

As WWII consumed the world, in 1942 Ray signed up with the many other good men of the district to join the army. After two years of service, Ray was discharged in February of 1944.

His flat feet and colour blindness may have caused him angst during his life at times, but they quite possibly saved his life as he could not be sent to the front line for active duty with either complaint.

On his return to the district, Ray took up a position at Ardrossan working in the orchard for John Sedgwick. It was around this time that Robyn, Ray and Dulcie’s only daughter, was welcomed into the fold.

In 1949 the Whiting’s purchased a property out at Yaven Creek and named it Blue Lake. Here they built a house and made their home.

“The family has always been important,” Mr Whiting said. “We would go fox shooting and walk for miles. I’ve always walked so that is something I do miss.”

Playing cards has also been a passion of Ray’s for as long as he can remember, 500 is his ace game but he also doesn’t mind cribb as well.

His family tell stories about travelling home from Sydney to the Yaven Creek property and arriving late, 11pm long after dinner, and being greeted by Dulcie and a roast dinner and Ray patiently waiting to kick off a card game.

Playing until the early hours of the morning, daughter Robyn and her husband Bob still fondly laugh with Ray about the many wonderful hours spent chatting over a hand of cards only to rise with the sun of the new day and head into the hills to shoot foxes.

“We would walk from daylight to dark fox shooting,” Mr Whiting smiled. “I used to whistle them and bark at them, I don’t reckon I’d have the voice left in me to bark now.”

In his cricketing days, Ray would open the batting against the other district team, scoring only one 100 in his career that spanned well into his 50s.

Reaching his second century of sorts today makes the gentle faced Ray smile, and scoff at the fuss that is being made of his latest milestone.

Moving into Tumut to Clarence Street in 1979, Ray and Dulcie enjoyed the ease that town life afforded them and both became involved in indoor and outdoor bowls as well as the gardening club.

After Dulcie’s sad passing in 1992, Ray used his interest in bowls and his vegetable garden to help him through the hard times that ensued.

Ray’s children, Peter, Jeff and Robyn and their families including five grandchildren and nine great children have acted as wonderful company as he has gotten older and since moving into Bupa nearly five years ago.

Still loving a game of cards and always up for chat, Ray is a remarkable man who has reached an impressing innings today.

Happy Birthday Ray.