Believed to be Victoria’s oldest citizen with an active driver’s licence, 101-year-old Ella Ebery has defied the limits of age.
“When you get to my age, you have to try to be active in a small country town. If you cannot drive, you’re housebound,” the St Arnaud resident said.
“Being housebound is the biggest imposition anyone could put on me.”
She sat her licence renewal test three weeks ago and passed.
“I only drive around the town, and if I still can, why not,” she said.
Mrs Ebery also worked as an editor and journalist for St Arnaud’s North Central newspaper until she was 97.
“I learnt to be a journalist on the job and I managed to help keep the local paper going for 30 years,” she said.
“I remember sending my cadet journalist out one day to the scene where police shot the country bandit. He had held up one of the banks in St Arnaud. The police shot him and my cadet returned wide-eyed with these dead body pictures.”
Mrs Ebery said she loved being in a newsroom as it was thrilling and grew as a very strong passion.
“I used to get onto politicians and battled on to get things for the town. It made a difference and I loved that,” she said.
Her efforts were rewarded with a Shakespeare Award in 2000, a national Rural Press award for appropriateness and quality in editorial writing.
“I went to Sydney as a result and Sir William Dean presented me with the award,” she said.
“In a nutshell, I have lived a very busy life, but I have never given up and always looked to try new things. Journalism was one of them.”
Mrs Ebery is still active in her community, engaged in a project to establish a botanical garden for St Arnaud.
“Quite often when we are old, we are still capable,” she said. “We are capable of having a licence. We are up against concerned family members, and not everyone has the courage to see it through.
“Don’t be deterred by general opinion that old people shouldn’t be doing this, shouldn’t be on the road. Do what you can and what you believe is right.”