90 years young – Averial Mahony talks about life and keeping busy!

Averial Mahony. Photo: Keer Moriarty.
Averial Mahony. Photo: Keer Moriarty.

Averial Mahony turned 90 on 8 April and she remains a vivacious woman with a great zest for life.

Born in 1933, her parents lived in the workers cottages near Canungra Saw Mill.  

In those days women in rural areas would go to a home nurse in Brisbane and the nurse would deliver the babies there.

Canungra Law

Averial’s father was a bullock driver and she says she can just remember the bullocks, who her father had all named.

When Averial was about four years old, her parents bought two properties in Ferny Glen and began dairying.

She attended Flying Fox school along with her sister Dorothy and three brothers Neville, Laurie and Stan.

She remembers the Pine Creek Cricket Club, Tennis Club and Ferny Glen Hall where dances were held.

“It was all there in the one area,” she said.

“But there’s nothing there now.  The school was there with the hall right next to it and the cricket and tennis club in were across the road.”

Getting to school meant crossing Canungra Creek, but there was no bridge.

“There was a log and it used to get washed away when we had floods and then Dad had to replace it. I held onto the wire and walked across the log to go to school.”

She finished her schooling when she was about 14 years old.

Her future husband Con attended Flying Fox school as well, but they were only in school at the same time for a year.

He lived close by and they used to go to dances in the area with friends, although Averial was 18 years old before she and Con started going out.

“We used to get in the back of my brother Stan’s cattle truck, standing up with our long frocks and overcoats on, and go to the dances at Beechmont or Tambourine Mountain or to the pictures in Canungra.”

Con and Averial were the first couple to be married at Canungra Uniting Church.  It opened on 5 June  and they married on 12 June 1954.  Together they  had three boys Neil, Trevor and Brad.

In 1969 the family sold the farm and moved to the Gold Coast where she and their boys got work and Con started a plastering business with a friend.

Sadly, Con passed away nine years ago.

After moving to the Gold Coast, Averial maintained her connection with Canungra, attending every Canungra Show since she was five years old, apart from one when Con was ill.  She entered the cooking and craft sections, stewarded in the pavilion and enjoyed competing with other entrants.

“That was what all the ladies did and it was great!”

She has been a CWA member for 47 years, starting at Wonglepong and later joining Coomera CWA.

At 90 years young, Averial looks to be in the peak of health.

Her two knee replacements were the biggest health problems she had.

She credits her busy lifestyle for her good health.

“I don’t sit around, even in my home when I’ve got nothing much to do I get the knitting out and knit a little teddy or something like that.”

“If I didn’t do that I’d have to go and get a job,” she laughs.

Averial celebrated her 90th birthday with family and friends with an open house on 1 April.

About Keer Moriarty 290 Articles
Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady with Canungra Times.