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100 Years Young

Mary Leonora Smith, better known to her friends as Noreen, has just celebrated her 100th birthday (27th September) and still writes a very good poem.

She has been writing poetry most of her life and has had many poems published in the Hills to Hawkesbury Community News. She has also published a book containing over 200 poems and pieces of prose called In My Words as a legacy to her family.

The current poem she is writing is called On The Way Out.

She grew up on a farm on Seven Hills Rd, Baulkham Hills as Mary Leonora Brown and was given the nickname Noreen when attending Baulkhams Hills Primary School and it stayed with her. The farm that she and her brothers Noel and John grew up on was where the Wagon Wheel Nursery and now SummitCare now stand.

She left school, studied stenography and started work at the age of 15. Her secretarial work included a job at radio station 2GB. She met her husband when she was working in Baulkham Hills for the Broadfoot family who ran an irrigation business and a horse stud. Bill was a plumber.

Miss Brown became Mrs Smith and she still lives in the house that her husband built in 1949 after they married and where they bought up their three children, Debbie, Jeff and Bill.

Noreen Smith With Her Card From King Charles And Queen Camilla 100 Years Young

She started writing again as a young mum and now writes for her three grandchildren and two great, granddaughters.

Her short stories and poems have won numerous prizes including first prize in the Henry Lawson Festival of Arts. One of her poems was also accepted for the ABC publication: The Year of the Outback.

Her parent’s story is contained in Slices of Life, a book that’s in a time capsule buried by Hills Shire Council in 2003 to be opened in 2056.

She celebrated her 100th birthday with family and was thrilled to get birthday wishes and cars from politicians and dignitaries including the Governor General and the Prime Minister.

Her biggest thrill though was a card from His Majesty King Charles and Queen Camilla (pictured).

One of the 200 poems to feature in her book is this one: At The End of The Day.

At The End of The Day
When the rose has dropped its petals, And each bird has gone to rest Seek solace in your inner self If you won or failed the test. If your step is light or weary Grieve not for things not done Rest easy with a quiet mind At the setting of the sun, And then again at sunrise Embrace the coming day, If you take a little, give a little There will be nothing to repay.
By Noreen Smith

Bev Jordan

Bev Jordan studied journalism at Harlow College in the UK.  She achieves a Diploma in Journalism from the National Council for the Training of Journalists. After migrating to Australia at the end of 1984, she took up a Senior Journalist position with Cumberland Newspapers, based on the Parramatta Advertiser. She has since worked on the Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald and was a lecturer in Journalism at Macleay College in Sydney. Bev returned to Cumberland Newspapers (NewsLocal) and worked for 30 years covering all different mastheads, including Mosman Daily, Mount Druitt Standard and finally Hills Shire Times for the last 17 of those years. Bev’s passion has always been local community journalism.  She says “As a journalist, I have always seen it as my job to inform, inspire and involve.  I am a passionate advocate for organisations and people making a difference to the world around them. Connectedness is so important to the health of an individual but also to a community, no matter how small or large.

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