BIG BIRTHDAY: Nolear Ramsamy will turn 100 on Friday, October 6.
BIG BIRTHDAY: Nolear Ramsamy will turn 100 on Friday, October 6. Tara Cassidy

Mackay royalty turns 100, still catching yabbies

MEETING Nolear Ramsamy for the first time, you wouldn't immediately guess she's a woman turning 100 with tales to tell from the war time.

Walking into her home, the walls are lined with pictures of her enormous family, one of the many things she believes have kept her going all this time.

She has 12 siblings, 11 children, 39 grandchildren, 97 great grandchildren, 47 great great grandchildren and three great great great grandchildren - she tells this with a huge smile on her face.

"Yes many kids, we have a big family, and they're all coming to my birthday party on Saturday," she said.

"That and all my friends, lots of food, we'll party all into the night."

Nolear, who now lives happily in Slade Point, was born in the Torres Strait on Prince of Wales Island in the midst of the First World War.

She remembers the Japanese war planes flying over her home on TI and having to relocate to Cherbourg in 1939 for safety when the war began.

Over the years she worked in several roles, mainly at a grocery store, and later as a house maid, "anything to put food on the table for the kids", she said.

Eventually she moved to Mackay with her family, where she settled and met her future husband, Ram.

They met while Ram (Ted) was working as a showman with snakes at a Mackay Show and Nolear and her sister had applied to be ticket sellers.


Nolear and her partner Ram (Ted) got married in 1944.
Nolear and her partner Ram (Ted) got married in 1944. Contributed

"My sister and I were both fighting over him, and I won," Nolear joked.

"Then we fell in love and got married in North Mackay at my mother's place in 1944. The war was still on, rough wedding hey.

"Ted was the 'snake man', he worked with taipans. I was always scared he would get bitten, and one day he did. I got mad and said, what about me and the kids, no more, now you need a new job. So he did."

Ram and Nolear would often spend time together fishing, a hobby she still enjoys today.

"Yes, I still go out on the water, bring the yabbies and go fishing, I love it."

She also enjoys attending church, spending time with her family and cooking her favourite traditional meals.

Nolear said she owes her longevity to living healthily, never drinking or smoking and cooking fresh meals from scratch. She also insisted fishing had something to do with it.

"It makes me young again," she said.

"And having my family around, watching them grow up, always doing what you love."

Nolear can't wait to be surrounded by her many relatives come Saturday, many whom are travelling from all over Australia to attend.

The party will be held at Scriha Street PCYC from 11am to 3pm. All friends and family of Nolear are welcome to join.

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