Jack's century celebrated in fine style

15 Jan, 2016 04:00 AM

QUAIRADING resident John 'Jack' Wilson turned 100 this week and marked the occasion with more than 120 guests at the Quairading Club last weekend.

During the celebrations he was honoured with traditional head dress and certificate by the Sikh Community of WA for spreading ashes of a Sikh family member 73 years ago.

The crown was also presented by a local Quairading community member as respect for Jack's Scottish family heritage.

Jack last year received a Citizen of the Year Award from the local shire for his selfless service to the community over many years.

He held the role of secretary for the Farmer's Union for 25 years, has been a member of the Quairading Hospital Board, a member of the Quairading Rotary Club for more than 50 years, served on the Shire of Quairading between 1969 and 1978 and has been the secretary for the Uniting Church of Quairading.

He spent many hours delivering firewood around the town to raise money for the community.

p Jack began delivering to CBH when the co-operative was first formed 83 years ago and wrote the following of his life in Quairading:

"Dad came out from Scotland about 1906/1907, when they were still building the number two Rabbit Proof Fence, and started up a farm in what is now Quairading.

The family still farms the same block of land today.

I was born in 1916.

My mother was a school teacher, so I spent a lot of my early childhood in the classroom with her while she taught the local kids.

When I left school, I was going to study engineering, as I've always been mechanically inclined.

But then we had the Great Depression and Dad said to me that he wasn't going to pay for me to go idling at university, so I ended up working at the family farm.

We managed to get through the Depression alright and then World War II broke out and I spent four years in the armed forces.

I never ended up serving overseas but was stationed with the 1st Armoured Division to keep the wheels turning back at home and to protect Australia from any potential invasions.

After the war, I didn't have anything else to do and Dad was getting on a bit, so I came back to Quairading and took over the farm.

I married a teacher, Phyllis, who came to teach at the local school and we ended up with four children - two boys and two girls.

The farm has recently been split between my boys who are managing their separate farms with their boys, so it's still in the family.

I have 11 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren (with another on the way), spread all over the place.

I've delivered to CBH from the start, when it first set up in Quairading back in 1933.

In fact, my family delivered the millionth tonne of grain into the CBH Quairading site, so we have a long association with the co-operative.

I believe CBH has grown to be the most efficient grain handling, receival, storage and distribution system in the world.

Unfortunately they are hampered by the ancient rail transport system which has hardly moved forward in 100 years.

Of course, there have been a lot of changes to the industry over the years I've been involved.

I look at my sons and grandsons farming today and it's a vastly different era to when I left school.

The biggest change has been the machinery.

We used to use an old Chevy that you could only put 12 bags (or a tonne) of grain on.

Now, people have got machinery with semi-trailers and can drive a 50-60 tonne load.

The speed of push button technology is also a major change.

The accuracy you can get on farm these days through this technology is astounding and in two to three years, we won't need men on the farm at all - it'll all be automated.

The other major change is with the varieties of grain.

They are improving every year.

One of the concerns going forward is with the government cutting off research funding, which will be detrimental to farmers in the long term.

In terms of a secret to a long life, I don't have any secrets.

However, I don't eat anything that isn't fresh or that I haven't prepared myself.

I'm just an ordinary man really, but every now and then I have an extraordinary plan and sometimes it all works out.

At the end of the day you've got to be happy with what you do in life and try to see the humorous side of things.

If you've got the right attitude, you're halfway there."

p Farm Weekly would like to thank CBH for providing Jack's statement and the Wilson family for photos from the birthday celebrations.



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