100 years of dancing at Riverina Gums

Riverina Gums resident, Barb Pitt

One of our Riverina Gums residents, Barb Pitt, is turning 100 in June and celebrations are already afoot. Barb has received a letter from NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and will soon host a high tea for friends, family, and fellow residents.

Barb grew up on a property between Macksville and Dorrigo, where she developed her love for horses. She learned to stand up and canter on a horse, a talent she says came naturally. “I just lived on ponies. We had a cow pony, as broad as she was long.” Barb says she was a real tomboy, holding screaming pigs while her dad marked them. She was also “mum’s right-hand man inside. I learned how to make pastry and scones.”

Her many talents stood her in good stead for a job with a wealthy English family when she left home. It was here that Barb met the love of her life, Norman Lindsey Pitt. “One day I was cleaning the window.

I opened the gauze real wide, and didn’t realise the butcher was delivering the meat. I hit him in the forehead and he said, ‘Hey, that hurt!’. I was a bit mischievous, so I said, ‘would you like me to kiss it better?’ He said, ‘yes please’. So I fell in love with the butcher boy.”

Barb and Norman married when she was 22, after which Norman spent five years in New Guinea as part of the Wewak campaign of WWII. “When he came home he said, ‘I want a business of my own. That’s what we fought for. We fought for freedom of speech, of choice, freedom of enterprise.’

He used to say, ‘if you have the guts and the money to have a go, you could. Not all countries are like that.’”

She and Norm had a butcher’s shop for several years, and used to come to Wagga for the fat lambs. Barb moved to Riverina Gums seven years ago and says, “the village I love because it’s peaceful and there’s something on every day at reception. And now I’m getting meals from the new chef and they’re very very good.”

A gentleman in the supermarket recently told Barb, “You’re 20 years older than me but look better than I do. What’s your secret?” Barb told him, “eat plenty of vegetables and fruit and don’t ever stop dancing.”

To find out more about Riverina Gums, click here.

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