DAISY – TEN DECADES YOUNG!: Story: Marie Pietersz | Photos: courtesy family
Daisy Balfour (nee Sims) celebrated her 100th birthday with an intimate private party organised by her family at Mercy Place Residential Aged Care, Springvale, on the 29th August.
It’s not often we get to hear good news stories these days given the fast and furious lifestyle we live in, but not so in the case of Daisy Balfour who lived through two very different centuries – the 20th and 21st – taking them calmly in her stride, and perhaps will have a lesson or two to share with the younger members of her family growing up in the current climate.
One of three siblings, Daisy was born in Badulla, in post-colonial British Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to parents Charles and Muriel Sims on the 29th of August 1919.
Life in Ceylon was very different at the turn of the 20th century following transition of Ceylon from British administration, and Daisy grew up in an environment with social protocols very unlike those of today.
Daisy spent her youth on the tea estates in Ceylon’s high country and was educated at Girls High School, Badulla. She lived a simple and uncomplicated life. She was not required to contribute to the family’s coffers and therefore did not need to go to work. This was common among young Burgher (of Dutch and European heritage) ladies in Ceylonese families from the middle to upper social class status and what they were accustomed to in the climate of those times.
At age 22, she married Willie Balfour (late), a Captain who served in the British Army in Sri Lanka and abroad. The wedding was held at the Methodist Church, Badulla on the 6th of September 1941. She was attended by her sister, Barry, as bridesmaid, and Willie’s brother as groomsman.
As a young bride, Daisy continued her married life on the tea estates where her husband was later employed. There, her family grew and she became mother to five children, Tyrone (Rev.), Andrew, Catherine, Derrick and Gillian. The boys were boarded at Kingswood College, Kandy, and the girls at Methodist College, Colombo.
After life on the tea plantations, Daisy and her husband moved to Colombo with their grown-up children where they lived until they migrated to Australia in 1970. She took Australian citizenship on the 20th of February 1976.
In Australia, Daisy lived with her family in Springvale for 45 years. She didn’t drive a car or go to work, loving instead to be a housewife, and proud of her children’s achievements. Her interests were her children and grandchildren, her garden and her vegetable patch. Reading was her hobby and as an avid reader has read hundreds of books. She also took an interest in sport and followed all sport very closely.
She kept home until the age of 96, cooking and entertaining the family and making her home the base where they all got together.
Daisy has never been in hospital until the last fall that finally put her into aged care. She moved into Mercy Place, Springvale, in 2015 where she is happy and well cared for.
She has 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Daisy cut two cakes, one made by family friend, Marie Pietersz, and the other gifted by Mercy Hospital staff.
An incredible milestone, but not as incredible as Daisy in everything she would have overcome on her long journey and in the many roles she played in her life: that of daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
‘Her faculties are still very sharp,’ says son Derrick, ‘She remembers everything. She was very happy that we organised a celebration to mark her special birthday. We are blessed to have had our mum for such a long time.’
There were many congratulatory letters for Daisy, among which was the one that all centurions wait for – from the Queen – and others from the following prominent list of VIPs:
HRH Queen Elizabeth II
His Excellency Governor General Hon David Hurley AC DSA (Retd) and Mrs Linda Hurley
Prime Minister, Hon Scott Morrison MP
Federal Opposition Leader, Hon Anthony Albanese MP
Governor or Victoria, Hon Linda Dessau AC
Premier of Victoria, Hon Daniel Andrews MP
Federal Member for Bruce, Julian Hill MP
Member for Keysborough, Martin Pakula MP
Happy special birthday Daisy. You are nothing short of amazing. You have overcome all the hurdles along the way! Congratulations from all of us! May you stay contented and happy as you continue your blessed journey, giving love and pleasure to your family and friends. God bless you!