1 July, 2023
George celebrates a great 100 years
THROUGHOUT his life, George Holland has seen 23 Prime Ministers, four kings and a queen, the building of the Sydney Harbour bridge and the effects of World War II.
Celebrating his 100th birthday last Friday, George had the pleasure of receiving a letter from King Charles congratulating him on his milestone.
In his 100 years, George has experienced many incredible things and carries those memories with him into his next century.
George was only six years old when the Great Depression swept over the world, but he was old enough to understand the hardships his parents and others endured.
At its height in 1932, when George was nine, over one third of Australians couldn’t get any work. George’s father was on relief work but that was only one or two days of work each week.
“He and my mother managed to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads,” George said.
After time at boarding school in Charters Towers, George got his fi rst job at Tully, working for the Queensland Railways as a clerk.
When World War II began, George was determined to enlist and do his part to serve his country but his job on the railway kept him back, with his application being denied five times.
After speaking to the town clerk at a local dance night about his situation, he was finally accepted in the Australian Air Force.
“In April 1945 I qualified as Navigator-Bombardier,” George said.
“I held the record for being the most accurate bombardier – over 52 courses flying at 10,000 feet, releasing 6 practice bombs - all from different angles and directions – they all landed within a 54 ft diameter.”
“But I had a very good pilot.”
After the war, George returned to the railway for a few years before switching career path in Townsville, where he began studying accountancy.
In 1960, he became a qualified accountant and held various accountancy jobs in Townsville and Rockhampton, fi nally working for the City Council in Gladstone, after which he retired in the 1980s. In the late 1980s he met his wife Ruth at a dancing class, and they married the following year after she returned from some time overseas.
George has a son, John, and daughter, Jeanette, from a previous marriage, has four grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
George and Ruth moved to Atherton in 2000 after visiting several times on holiday and falling in love with the climate.
“We had been here several times, the climate is good, there’s very stable living, and such friendly and caring people here. We love it!” he said.
George came to Carinya this year after successful surgery for a life-threatening health issue.
Ruth comes in every morning and together they enjoy the music, bingo, story-telling and just being together.