Smithfield lady is nation's oldest

BORN in 1901, the year of the federation of Australia, Jane Gray is the country's oldest living woman.

Mrs Gray was born on December 1, 1901 — one day before King Camp Gillette invented the safety razor, and in the year in which Edmund Barton became prime minister — and turned 112 on Sunday.

The mother of two, grandmother of seven, great-grandmother of eight and great-great-grandmother of two said she would now stay permanently in SummitCare Smithfield.

She lived independently in her home in Smithfield for more than 83 years.

"I wanted to stay local and close to my family but living as long as I have lived, you lose friends along the way," Mrs Gray said.

"As much as I love all my family, I also wanted to have a good old-fashioned gossip."

She said that throughout her life she enjoyed playing the violin and listening to Scottish music.

And she dabbles in arts and crafts, and watches Young Talent Time.

Mrs Gray said the secret of living a long life was clean living, making the most of every day, and being part of a community.

SummitCare Smithfield operation manager Leona Calpito said her team and the residents were inspired by Mrs Gray.

"She is truly a fantastic lady who never ceases to make us laugh," she said. "From the day Jane came for an initial visit earlier this year, she always said a spade was a spade and how community was very important to her. Together we strive to create an environment that promotes a sense of inclusion and wellbeing, and with residents like Jane and her family, I feel we achieved this."

Last year, Mrs Gray was given the key to the City of Fairfield. This year, she celebrated her birthday with a party in Smithfield on Sunday, with her family and close friends as guests.

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