LITTLE May Brazier knew it was a serious time as a plague was sweeping the district and some had died with it.
As the eldest sibling, she was left in charge of her younger brothers while their mother Charlotte, the local midwife and nurse, bravely moved around the district to nurse the families that were stricken. Their father William was often away too, as he carried the mail from Jimbour to Gayndah on horseback. He had to travel in all kinds of weather on long and lonely bush tracks.
It was good to see their mother return home but they were sent immediately down the paddock while their mother burnt the clothing she wore that day and fumigated their home by burning sulphur on a shovel.
May Brazier and her family survived the plague that she experienced in the early years of her young life.
Unlike many living in the pioneering days she went on to reach the remarkable age of 100 years.
Her memories of the Jandowae district went back to the early 1890s.
William and Charlotte settled on 'Lonsdale' in the Jandowae district and May was born on May 30, 1890, the first of a what became a large family.
She learned at an early age to be resourceful and to assume responsibility.
May remembered when Jandowae was quite primitive and people lived in small low bark huts that had been built by the women. In those days it took two days to travel to Dalby and much longer if it was in bad weather.
In 1929, May married Bill Rennison at Teneriffe in Brisbane and settled for town life. The couple had no children. Then in the early 1950s her husband died and May returned to Jandowae to care for her aging mother.
She then lived with Charlotte Brazier after her mother's death. But some time later following a fall and fracturing her hip she entered the Jubilee Nursing Home in 1984 where she was to spend the last years of her life. She made many new friends and lived contentedly.
It was a delight for her to take part in the Jandowae School centenary celebrations. She was the oldest student and also the guest of honour.
She took an active part in the celebrations, riding in the procession in Wally Lanaghan's 1926 Oakland and waving regally to the crowds that lined the streets. She also contributed to the history book of the day.
A hundred people attended May Rennison's own centenary celebrations, there were telegrams and speeches making it a wonderful occasion.
Her indomitable spirit and cheerful disposition enabled her to extract from her hundred years the maximum enjoyment and fulfilment. She only lived two months after the party and passed away on August 19, 1990. At her funeral, a moving panegyric was given by her nephew Rob Brazier
"At times like this, we tend to remark that an era has ended.
"Throughout May's life many eras began and finished.
"This is just one more. Life goes on, I believe that, for May, another life has begun: one that is far richer and much more blessed,” he said.
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