The West

A WA 109th birthday celebration
Ada Furby celebrated her birthday with staff from Villa Pelletier. Picture: John Mokrzycki/The West Australian

Ada Furby has seen more in her life than most could dare to dream.

Believed to be the oldest living person in WA, the feisty 109-year-old has watched Perth evolve from a quiet country town to the bustling boomtown it is today.

Surrounded by friends and staff from her West Leederville nursing home, Ms Furby yesterday celebrated an incredible life spanning almost eleven decades with cake and merriment.

Born in England on July 22, 1903, Ms Furby came to Perth for a holiday with her father in 1923 but fell ill about the time they were due to return home.

Her father took her to the Good Shepherd Convent in Leederville to recuperate while he travelled home to the UK but Ms Furby remained at the convent and has been in Australia ever since.

Ms Furby's life has been one dedicated to her faith: she spent forty years with the convent before moving into Villa Pelletier in 1971, where she still lives today.

The super-centenarian was overwhelmed yesterday by the attention her birthday celebrations created but Southern Cross Care chief executive Stuart Flynn said Ms Furby was committed to making a difference in the community and until very recently, had been involved in many villa activities.

She spent years working in the convent's sewing room and became an auxiliary, supporting the Sisters to look after the girls who were in care. This later led to a role as a teacher's aid, helping educate young women in the art of cooking and cake decorating.

Ms Furby also won numerous awards for her crochet and embroidery work at the Perth Royal Show and continued to crochet until she was 100 when her failing eyesight made it too difficult to continue.

When Ms Furby arrived in Australia, it was a young nation yet to experience much of what has shaped it today. During her 109 years, she has lived through World War II and the Great Depression, seen the creation of vegemite and penicillin and watched Phar Lap win his first Melbourne Cup.

Three people aged 115 years old are currently the oldest living people on the planet, according to the Gerontology Research Group. New South Wales resident Eva McConnell, 111, is Australia's oldest living person.

The West Australian

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