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How Blue-tiful!

Ninety-one-year-old Florence’s beautiful blue bouffant hairstyle is the flamboyant elegance that brings colour to Nambour charity shop Smiles, every Wednesday.

by Rebecca Mugridge

Florence’s beautiful trademark hair has its own iconic status in Nambour, she is a local face familiar to many as she walks around town with a dash of blue.

A beautiful person inside and out that has lived all over the Sunshine Coast during her 91 years thanks to her late husband, Ron, who liked to move a lot.

“My husband was a great one. Every few years he would want to move,” Florence smiles.

And move about they did!

“I have lived everywhere. I’ve lived in Palmwoods, I’ve lived in Colloolabin, I’ve lived in Yandina, I’ve lived in Chancellor Park,” lists Florence.

“We came up from Manly in Sydney. I lived in Manly for most of my life as a child, near the beach. We moved to a pawpaw farm in Palmwoods and I worked for Coles in Nambour until I fell pregnant with our daughter. We even lived in Noosa, we had a garage and a fruit shop and a fish shop in Noosa.”

Florence says when they first moved up from Sydney, Nambour was the place to be. “Gee, Nambour was great in those days,” she says fondly.

“Nambour and Currie Street especially were just wonderful. The main street had all these shops, it was lovely. When the cane went, it really made a difference to Nambour, a lot of country towns were the same.”

Her favourite business they owned was a shop in Yandina before the highway changed, called The Trading Post. “We had an antique shop in Yandina with a horse and cart out the front. I really liked that antique shop. I was always buying stuff and scraping it off and putting new colours on it or changing it.”

They were living in Colloolabin when Florence’s husband Ron was diagnosed with prostate cancer. “We had a lot of acreage and thought we better get something smaller now. We moved to Chancellor Park and built a house there, but after a while it wasn’t enough for him to do after farming and we moved to Woombye where we lived for seven years.”

When the property at Woombye became too much for them, they moved to Nambour.

“It’s great,” says Florence warmly of living in Nambour. “I didn’t think that at first,” she laughs, “it really grows on you. It really is a lovely place to live.”

Florence has lived in Nambour for 15 years now, she says she knows this as she gets a card every year telling her!

“I get a letter from Keyline Realty every year, letting me know. And he didn’t even sell us the house!” she says impressed.

“He must have been one of the agents we saw but he didn’t get the actual sale. It says, ‘Hello, Florence, this is your 15th year in your house’.” She smiles about this year’s card.

Florence thinks it is the most wonderful thing and an example of the Nambour community spirit. “I really appreciate them [the letters], they make me feel valued as a local.”

Florence lost her husband Ron a few years ago. “He was nearly ten years older than me. He would have been 100 this year. He was a great guy, very lovely. I miss him.”

Florence lives independently on her own at 91 and still drives a car and volunteers each week at Smiles Op Shop.

Smiles is the name Nambour locals affectionately give to the op shop that is now on Currie Street called Helping Children Smile Inc.

It supports an organisation based on the Sunshine Coast where volunteers provide reconstructive cleft lip and cleft palate surgery for Filipino children who without this help cannot access the surgery and treatments they need due to poverty and lack of the medical facilities and specialists they need.

“I look forward to Wednesday mornings and coming down and seeing the girls and seeing people. That’s important when you live on your own,” Florence shares about her weekly volunteering at Smiles.

Op shops, Florence adds, also are a fantastic option for your wardrobe.

“To tell you the truth, I think nearly all my clothes are from op shops. I think they are better quality than the new stuff.

“For me, I can buy beautiful clothes in the op shops and I do think it’s just good to do it too. You can always find things you like that suit you, and it’s just so cheap. People really should do it more.

“Nambour has some great op shops.”

And she isn’t alone in thinking Nambour is a great place to serendipitously discover some fantastic clothing and knick-knack wonders. Nambour even has its own op shop trail map. ‘Vintage and Retro’ trail map for Nambour -

Beautifully blue haired and vibrant at 91, Florence says the secret to a long life is to live every moment without “living” in the problems that may also be there.

“Live as happy as you can, doing what you can.”


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