Centenarian credits bushcraft, gardening and ‘great love’ of bowls for his good health and longevity

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Looking back on his 100th birthday, Robe resident Vic Dawson credits country living, a beautiful garden and his love of bocce for reaching the milestone birthday.

His family also complimented his style, a new cardigan, as they gathered at his home before leaving for lunch at the local pub for the big event.

Vic Dawson and his sister Carrie Ferguson (center), who will turn 96 in September, surrounded by their family.(ABC South East SA: Grace Whiteside)

Mr. Dawson was born in Robe in 1922, one of six children.

After leaving school after year 7, he helped write weekly reports for the Animal Nutrition Division which had set up a field station on his father’s farm to investigate a remedy for rib sickness, a debilitating disease of sheep.

“It wasn’t a full-time occupation and other than that, well, we were free to work on the property,” Mr Dawson said.

“I loved the outdoors and the country life. I think it gave me a good start for my health there.

“We often had lots of good farm produce, we had vegetables…we used to have a sheep a week for rations, we had lots of fish and the rump of a wild rabbit.”

Mr Dawson said the freedom of the bush has contributed to his long life.

“It was another big part of my life – that I loved wandering the bush and hunting,” he said.

“I was pretty fit and could walk for miles when I was young. Nothing like that now, of course.”

Not all pink

Mr Dawson said reaching 100 was “a great achievement”.

“A lot of people are very surprised at how healthy I look,” he said.

“Not everything was rosy. There were ups and downs

“I had a few major operations in my time but luckily thanks to the skill of the doctors and surgeons I survived those.”

Mr Dawson credits gardening and bowls for keeping him healthy now.

“I still love my gardening,” he said.

Older man smiles while standing next to potted flowers
Mr. Dawson says he likes to grow flowers in his garden in Robe. (ABC South East SA: Grace Whiteside)

“I’ve always had a lot of fun growing flowers, I especially love pansies and petunias. They are multi-colored and bloom for a long time.

“I also spent about an hour at the Robe Community Garden.

“I have fruit trees there that I planted, an apple tree, a cherry tree and an apricot tree.”

Bowls his ‘great love’

Mr Dawson said there was ‘no doubt’ he loved lawn bowls.

“I started very early, when I was only 26,” he said.

“The Robe Bowling Club is like a second home to me. I have been a member for over 70 years.

“I had a pretty successful career with her.”

He won three Champion of Champions singles titles for the South East titles and three Veteran singles titles.

“One of my best achievements was being considered tied for third with the Robe team I managed at the South Australian Championship in Adelaide,” he said.

Mr. Dawson still plays twice a week – weather permitting.

“Overall I have to say life has been wonderful,” he said.

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