A hard life with few rewards

EARLY DAYS: William "Pop” Craig still worked in his garden at the age of 100. Contributed

A VISIT to the dentist to have a tooth out is not too much drama for any young fellow, but for William Craig it was a bit different.

He was not a young fellow any more. In fact he was just two weeks off his 100th birthday. He had never worn dentures and cared for his teeth in an unusual way.

Every morning he rinsed out his mouth with a spoonful of water and methylated spirits. He put down his good health to "plain living”.

He never drank alcohol or smoked and always ate plenty of vegetables grown in his own garden.

All this seemed to work as he was 92 before he had a stay in hospital and only used reading glasses during the past ten years.

William was born in the 60 mile railway camp on the New South Wales-Queensland border. His father worked on the railway and his mother was a schoolteacher.

William trained at a teacher too but at 17 decided to try his luck on the goldfields. It was a hard life with few rewards.

"An Aborigine in the mining camp told me to chew charcoal to cure my indigestion,” he recalled.

"It worked too - a sure cure.”

At 23, he moved to Peranga and started working for Queensland Railways.

He married Mary Thompson and the couple had six children. The Craigs spent 44 years at Peranga.

William, or "Pop” as he was known locally, was very much part of the town as he became chairman of the Red Cross and secretary of the school committee. He was also a Justice of the Peace.

He was a familiar figure at country dances as band leader of a 13-piece brass band.

He was involved with the Salvation Army in Toowoomba and played a euphonium in the band.

However retirement came up and he moved to Toowoomba where he spent a lot of his time gardening or fishing with his grandsons at Mooloolaba.

William Craig was a remarkably fit man at a hundred years of age. He died in 1991 at 107 years of age.

At that time there were three of his children still living as well as 14 grandchildren, 30 great- grandchildren and 14 great-great grandchildren.

Topics:  dalby early days ray humphrys

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