The oldest living Australian living person celebrates 110

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The oldest living Australian living person celebrates 110

It may not have been an accolade he strove for, but the oldest living Australian, Frank Mawer, says he's enjoying every day.

After the death of Dexter Kruger in July 2021 at the age of 111, Mawer became the country's oldest living person.

He has seen it all - surviving two World War II, two global epidemics, and the tragic deaths of loved ones - he's celebrating his 110th birthday today.

He has also experienced pleasure in between the tough moments.

I take every day as it comes. I live day by day. As a young person who has lived a challenging life for a long time, his positive outlook is no small accomplishment.

In his experience of living through two pandemics, Mawer says he found them both to be highly restrictive but it was his first pandemic that led to a great tragedy for the Mawer family.

His brother died of the Spanish flu at the age of 20, which meant a young Frank Mawer had to brush it off as young kids. His mother passed away in the years that followed, and he was separated from his siblings.

That broke up the home as we became wards of the state, he says.

Mr Mawer's three sisters went into domestic service while he was sent to work as a 14-year-old labourer on a dairy farm near Macleay River on the Mid North Coast of NSW.

He remembers moments that he remembers fondly, despite having to grow up so quickly.

I worked on the farm, rode horses, and did some stupid things like swimming in the sea on the horse, he says.

It was during his boisterous adolescence that Mr Mawer met his Irish wife, Elizabeth.

He was an apprentice carpenter in Sydney, working at the building where she was secretary.

I would pass the office, put my gaze on her, and take her out to get some ice cream, he says.

They were married before World War II took place in 1939.

After the wedding, as a conscientious objector, Mr Mawer refused to partake in World War II.

When I was about 18, I became interested in religion, and the concept was that you don't take up arms or shoot anyone, he says.

Instead of fighting overseas, he worked on the construction of a building to house ammunition for the Australian Army in North Queensland.

Mr and Mrs Mawer were married for more than 70 years.

Mrs Mawer was diagnosed with dementia shortly before she died of breast cancer in 2012.

In the years before her death, it was Mr Mawer who looked after her.

She didn't want to be cooped up in the unit and she would sometimes get out and I would find her in someone else's house, he says.

Losing his sweetheart was one of his great challenges in life.

He says that it was a big shock that I miss her, she was my life partner, we had a great marriage and I have no regrets.

He lives in Central Tilba on the NSW South Coast with his 73-year-old son Philip Mawer.

Philip and his partner Stuart are his carers.

Some days are harder than others.

Philip Mawer says that he needs a lot of care and assistance, so that is a full-time job for the two of us.

Despite this, the younger Mr Mawer finds it harder to live with his father later in life to be a privilege. He's remarkably stoic and he won't complain as he's an optimistic person, he says.