Rolly Stevens and Merrion 'Topsy' Stevens on their wedding day on January 12, 1937.
Rolly Stevens and Merrion 'Topsy' Stevens on their wedding day on January 12, 1937. Contributed

107 years young, Topsy passes away peacefully

SHE wasn't quite the oldest Australian, but Merrion 'Topsy' Stevens had been well on her way at 107 years old.

Topsy recently passed away at Southern Cross Care St Michael's Residential Aged Care which had been her home for over a decade.



Topsy Stevens at her 107th birthday last year.
Topsy Stevens at her 107th birthday last year. Contributed

She was born Merrion Townsend on May 30, 1910 at her grandparents home in Battons Bight, 20kms south of Casino to Richard and Agnes of Busby's Flat.

Her mother contracted polio, three months into her pregnancy with Topsy and wasn't able to walk again.

She still went on to have six more children, as Topsy was 4th in the family of 10 children.

As a baby the doctor told Topsy's mother to take her home and love her, as she wouldn't live past five years old.

"I am not sure what ailment she had for the doctor to say that," daughter-in-law Jannie Stevens said.

"But she has outlived all her siblings and most of her neighbours."

With so much to do at home Topsy left school at 13-years-old to help rear the younger children and milk the cows.

Her nickname came about when her younger brother Fred couldn't pronounce her name correctly and called her Topsy. It stayed with her for the rest of her life.

As a young woman Topsy loved to dance.

"She would often ride a horse 25kms to go to a dance," Mrs Stevens said.

"Sometimes they would take the buggy."

It was when she was working for the Hines family at Drake as a house-keeper that she met the handsome general hand, Rolly Stevens.

They were married on January 12, 1937 and had two children Betty and John.

Topsy is described as being a very giving woman who loved to cook.

"You name it, she cooked it," Mrs Stevens said.

"Jams, pickles, sponges, fruit cakes, Christmas puddings, biscuits.

"No one who visited, left without a jar of something or fresh produce from her vegetable garden."

Topsy also loved her cricket and crocheting blankets and her family meant the world to her.

And there are plenty of them with eight grand-children, 24 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren who will carry on her legacy.

The funeral for Merrion 'Topsy' Stevens will be held at St Mark's Anglican church, Casino at 2pm on Wednesday, March 7.

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