"ONCE I had to hand-milk 44 cows."
Rita Dickinson of Burrell Creek is no stranger to hard work.
Reaching 100 years of age, Rita cites her hard working nature as the secret to her longevity.
This trait teamed with determination, creates a long list of precious memories that Rita loves to share.
In one of her earliest Rita remembers being the only student to wear a school uniform at Bo Bo School.
"It was a fine, box-pleat tunic," Rita said, proudly.
After leaving school, Rita came to work with her father in her grandfather's post office at Burrell Creek. Here she manned the telephone, delivered roadside mail and served in the shop.
In her late teens Rita began working on dairy farms, helping with the milking and household duties.
On her 21st birthday she announced her engagement to Dudley Dickinson. They were married on January 1, 1938.
Rita continued her work in the post office, while the couple worked at different dairy farms for many years. Notably, they spent almost 10 years working on Jock Murray's property at Krambach Cutting. Their time there was spent doing the milking by hand and rearing calves.
When Dudley passed away, Rita remained living in Burrell Creek independently for 15 years before moving to Banyula Village, another testament to her strong, determined character.
Away from her work, Rita enjoyed being highly involved in the community.
She was a Sunday School teacher at both Burrell Creek and Kundibakh churches, an active poll clerk and presiding officer for State and federal elections and wrote local news for the Manning River Times and Wingham Chronicle.
Rita was the third child for Samuel and Elsie Martin. She grew up with five sisters and four brothers. Her siblings were Hazel Mills, Dulcie Murray, Thomas Martin, Marie Filewood, Daisy Polley, Ron Martin, Leatrice Fluke, Vince Martin and Johnny Martin.
"I'm proud of all of them," said Rita. Her pride extends to her two children Tony Dickinson, a well respect radio and television presenter, and her daughter Judith Draper, a nurse who spent time working and living in Canada.
Rita stayed with her daughter Judith and her husband Ken Draper in Canada for eight months in 1979. She spent most days pulling her granddaughter Ayasha on a sledge through the snow, to a familiar destination - the post office.
Rita's two grandchildren are Ayasha Hartchard and Bonar Draper. Her great-grandchildren are Shylah, Mariah, Amelia, Scarlett and Jonah Hartchard.
Rita celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends at her residence at Karingal Gardens Retirement Village.
She enjoyed a lovely pink cake and received many birthday cards, including one from the Queen. Manning River Times, Feb 4 2015 "Hard Work is the secret to a long life"
Rita Iris Dickinson nee Martin, late of Burrell Creek, Passed away on Tuesday 12th June 2018. Aged 103 years. Beloved wife of Dudley (dec). Loving Mother and Mother-in-law to Judith (dec) and Tony (dec) & Sharon. Adored Grandmother of Ayasha, Bonar and Chris. Great Grandmother to Shylah, Mariah, Ameliya, Scarlett and Jonah. Survived by siblings Marie Filewood & Vince Martin. Relatives and friends are respectfully invitied to attend Rita's Funeral Service to be held at Chatham Uniting Church on Wednesday 20th June 2018 commencing at 11:30 am prior to interment in Bo Bo Cemetery, Bucketts Way, Burrell Creek. Manning River Times, June 15, 2018
Manning River Times, Feb 4 2015 "Hard Work is the secret to a long life"
Manning River Times, June 15, 2018
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