The true elixir of life, according to Poowong centenarian, Florence Cooper, who celebrated passing the 100-year milestone last Saturday, is to “keep happy all the time” and eat plenty of Vegemite! M471019

YOU’VE got to ask the question of anyone fortunate enough to reach 100 years, in excellent health and wellbeing, what’s the secret to a long life?
So, we asked the amazing Florence Cooper exactly that at her big birthday bash in the Uniting Church Hall at Korumburra last Saturday.
Would it be exercise regularly and stay off the booze?
Would it be to eat a balanced diet and reduce stress?
Is keeping active mentally important?
Well, no, according to Mrs Cooper, her secret to a long life didn’t rely on these things, although she agreed “being happy” was important.
“I suppose I’d say that one has got to keep happy all the time and in my case that was made easy by having such a wonderful family,” said Mrs Cooper.
“But if you asked my friends, they’d say it was Vegemite. I love it and I always have,” she said with a gleam in her eye.
“Oh yes, she absolutely lathers it on,” said one of her friends from Carinya Lodge.
Family members agreed.
But Mrs Copper covers off on the reduce stress and keep active aspects as well, according to daughter, Leonie Giles.
“She loves playing games and she’s fiercely competitive. She certainly lets you know if she beats you. She loves cards, mini-golf anything at all really.
“And she’s still very strong mentally.”
Mrs Cooper, who was born at Korumburra on March 6, 1919 and lived at Poowong all her life, also looks incredibly young for her age. Many suggested she looked closer in age to her daughters than other centenarians.
Coming off a local farm, Mrs Cooper went to school in Poowong and later met her first husband of 45 years Colin, allegedly while he was laying bricks on the foundations for the Poowong Hall.
“Mum saw dad and said I’m going to marry that man and she’s pretty determined when she sets her mind on something,” said Leonie.
She was also married to Joe for 12 years, both deceased.
Mrs Cooper also has a sister, Isabel Millett, aged 101 but unfortunately in ill health.
Still it’s a great record of longevity and if Vegemite really does do the trick, then all power to the man who invented Vegemite Cyril Callister and the Aussie firm that recently reclaimed this iconic Australian brand, Bega Cheese.
Mrs Cooper has three daughters; Leonie Giles, Myra Martin, Gayle Thompson, two step daughters Pam O’Keefe and Betty Holland, with four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.