HORSEMAN: After a lifetime working with horses, Alby Cross had two cakes, a harness collar and a saddle to celebrate his 100th birthday.
HORSEMAN: After a lifetime working with horses, Alby Cross had two cakes, a harness collar and a saddle to celebrate his 100th birthday. Contributed

Hard work doesn’t hurt

A BROKEN hip six weeks ago didn't stop Alby Cross celebrating his 100th birthday on Tuesday, June 21, with family and friends. Alby puts his longevity down to lots of hard work.

"That's all I've ever known," he said.

"I've lived a full life and now live a comfortable life after battling lots of floods and drought."

Horses and the timber industry have been a part of the make-up of Alby for his entire life.

Alby, or to his family "Pop", was born Albert Fletcher Cross at Kingaroy on June 21, 1916.

His earliest memories are of the Elsmere State School burning down.

His association with horses began when he picked the kids up on the way to school in the horse and sulky.

As a youngster he used to go into Kumbia in the horse and cart and collect the meat in a sugarbag from the butcher for the family and neighbours.

Alby worked home on the farm before starting work in timber in 1932 at Bunya Mountains.

Through the years his timber work has taken him to the Biggenden area including Coongarra Rock, Kilkivan, Tuan, Gallengowan and Fraser Island.

He remembers the overhead railway bridge being built by Ernie West. He also saw the picture theatre built in 1938 and the water tower.

Alby and wife Jean moved to Woowoonga and took up dairying from the 1950s until the late 60s.

The best moment in his life was the introduction of electricity.

"Made life so much easier," he said.

"As a kid it was my job to light the wood stove and copper as well as the fire to cook the pig's tucker.

"I really got sick and tired of lighting fires as a kid."

Alby and Jean had moved into their new home in Tardent St to have a family Christmas in 1992. Sadly, Jean passed away in January 1994.

A member of the Australian Draughthorse Association, Alby rode his horse well into his 90s.

"I had no worries getting on the horse as it used to stop at a block and let me on," he said.

Up until his last birthday Alby had a driver's licence but didn't renew it due to his health.

Alby had a family party on Saturday where all his children, Joyce, Peter, Val, Ronnie, Keith and Carmel, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren attended.


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