Pauline Potts, a true lady in every sense of the word, celebrates her 104th birthday

On Tuesday 28 June, Pauline Potts marked her 104th birthday, enjoying a laugh and a small celebration, including birthday cake, with fellow residents, staff and family at HammondCare Waratah.

Pauline Potts enjoys a big purple cake and bouquet of flowers for her 104th birthday celebration at Hammondcare Waratah residential care homeAs recently as two years ago, spritely Pauline Potts was still living independently on the Central Coast enjoying a lengthy retirement of travel and time with family. Daughter Gail Curby said her mum continues to be as active as possible with the support of staff in the Bottle Brush section of HammondCare Waratah.

“She has always been ladylike, with an emphasis on good manners and being kind to others,” Gail said. “Regardless of being 104, mum still is concerned about her hairstyle looking good and that her clothes are carefully co-ordinated.”

Mrs Potts is the oldest resident in HammondCare Hunter area services and one of the Hunter’s oldest residents. She was born in 1918 at Enfield in Sydney’s Inner West. Due to the Great Depression, she was forced to leave school early and took a job with AGL as a secretary. She carried with her for many years a wish to one day finish her education.

Pauline Potts in her war service uniformLater she served four years with the Australian Women’s Army Service, during World War II finishing as a sergeant. 

Towards the end of the war she met Gordon Potts who had served with the Australian Army in the Middle East and Kokoda. It was a wonderful romance, with the two tying the knot in 1946.

Tragically, Gordon passed away in 1961, aged 46, after years of poor health arising from his war service years, including a battle with Malaria. Mrs Potts was left to raise their three children then aged 13, 10 and 2 – a task she did with excellence.

Pauline Potts poses in a graduation gown and capDespite being a single mum, Mrs Potts was determined to finish her formal education and studied for her Higher School Certificate at TAFE. She later completed an Arts degree at Macquarie University in 1984, aged 66.

“Her dream was always to finish her education and she certainly did that,” Gail said. “After finishing university she would have loved to have become a school teacher - but she was too old for that career change.”

Mrs Potts kept activie throughout her retirement. On one of her overseas adventures she caught a Greyhound bus across the United States,  jumping off enroute to visit a variety of pen friends she had collected over many years. She also is very involved with her 4 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

Waratah Residential Manager Khardene Kilmartin said she and the other staff feel privileged to support Mrs Potts who arrived in August 2020. Through the pandemic she has remained positive despite the lockdowns.

“She is always so positive, polite and loves a giggle.” Khardene said. “She is a true lady in every sense of the word.”