KEMPSEY has welcomed another centenarian after Hazel Farrawell turned 100 years old on September 26.
Hazel was born in 1921 at Armidale and was one of five children born to Clyde and Nora Cavanagh of Kempsey, along with Clyde, Gwen, Hazel, Horace and Connie.
Hazel is now the only remaining family member.
The family lived at Woods Reef for a time, and when Hazel was about eight years old, they moved to the Maria River, then when she was ten they moved to Kundabung.
She has often shared her fond memories of being a young girl growing up riding horses and climbing trees in the country.
Hazel met the love of her life Cecil, better known as Dig Farrawell, and they married in 1941.
Following their marriage, Dig, who was enlisted in the army, was called to serve two separate tours of duty in New Guinea.
Hazel and Dig completed their family with two sons and two daughters (Kenneth, Janette, Gregory and Lois), followed by eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Hazel has lived in many different places in her life, including Armidale, Barraba, Katoomba, Kundabung, Eungai Creek, Crescent Head, Sydney, Stuarts Point, Eungai Rail then back to Stuarts Point, Frederickton and finally Kempsey, where she currently resides at Cedar Place Aged Care Facility.
Times were hard in the early years. Hazel and her family endured three major floods in a row and lost everything while living on the Maria River.
They moved into Hazel's parent's barn at Smiths Creek using sheets for divider walls and sheets of newspaper to keep out the cold.
Despite this hardship, Hazel always said that if they had each other and the family they had everything they needed.
Hazel and her family eventually found their feet again and built a new home in Belmore Street, Crescent Head.
Hazel and her husband Dig bought a house at Eungai Rail in later years where they lived for 32 years.
They also bought a banana plantation at Yarrahappini, and while Dig drove the Stuarts Point School bus to Kempsey through the week, Hazel and son Greg worked the banana plantation together.
This was one of her many occupations during her lifetime.
She was also a waitress, farm hand, worked at the Crescent Head Kiosk, Fosseys Department Store in Kempsey, a factory for National Transformers in Sydney, shucked Oysters at South West Rocks and was a machinist at the King Gee factory in Kempsey.
One of Hazel's fondest memories is of the day she picked out a greyhound pup that no one else wanted.
She called him "My Uggy", and she loved him dearly and spoilt him rotten.
He became a champion, winning many races and trophies for her.
Hazel kept playing tennis, fishing, and playing lawn bowls with her husband Dig in later years, winning many tournaments.
She was in her 80s when she became Secretary of the Bowles Club at Stuarts Point Bowling Club, and she also enjoyed crocheting, sewing, knitting, leatherwork and was a perfectionist at all that she undertook.
She loved camping with her family and had a passion for travel.
After her husband Dig passed away in 1996, Hazel moved back to Stuarts Point, where she resided until her early 90's, and it was at this time her good friend Ross Hayter took her for a gyrocopter ride as a 90th birthday present.
This was another highlight in her life and one that she has spoken of often.
Hazel is praised by her children for the love, caring and wisdom she has given every day for the last 100 years.
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