Life and times of dear Agnes

A HAPPY DAY: At her 100th birthday party Agnes was surrounded by friends and family. She's pictured here with sons David, John and Michael Boucher and daughter Nicolette Huxley.
A HAPPY DAY: At her 100th birthday party Agnes was surrounded by friends and family. She's pictured here with sons David, John and Michael Boucher and daughter Nicolette Huxley. Matthew Purcell

A LIFE that started in Townsville 100 years ago has been celebrated emphatically over the weekend.

Agnes Hardy was born on December 6, 1917, in far north Queensland to George and Olive.

She was the Hardy's third daughter, later to be followed by Ruth and Niel.

George was 41-years-old when he married 19-year-old Olive. Little is known about Agnes's father's early years, other than that he was born in British Columbia, Canada and was a sawmiller.

The family moved around numerous times. From Eton to Landsborough, Charters Towers, Mackay, Ayr and Applethorpe.

George obtained a care-taking job at 'Dilga' in Applethorpe after the original owner was murdered by the hired help and her body buried in a vegetable patch.

Agnes went to Applethorpe State School but never attained a secondary education.

While her other siblings went off to Toowoomba to do so, Agnes remained with her mother.

In her late teens, Agnes, through her sister Alison, met a young Irishman by the name of Jack Boucher.

A love affair blossomed and on her 16th birthday Jack gifted her with a poem and red roses.

From then on the pair were virtually inseparable. The only thing that parted their company for a time was the death of Jack's father.

On January 25, 1935 his father died and he sailed home.

Before he left, he proposed to Agnes with a diamond ring which she still has to this day.

On his return the couple wed in Jandowae before returning back to the Granite Belt where they stayed with friends at The Summit.

Soon after, Agnes and Jack welcomed their first child - Nicolette. Suzanne arrived four years later.

Wanting to build a family and a future for themselves, the couple purchased an orchard at Mt Tully.

When the orchard stabilised and became a profitable business they began to employ Italian Prisoners of War.

On November 28, 1945 the couple welcomed twin sons Michael and John. Jack was so pleased he went all out and bought Agnes a fur coat.

Their fifth child, David, was born in 1954.

Music was an important feature in both their lives. The two began involving themselves in local variety theatre and would go on to organise a number of productions.

In 1969 the Stanthorpe Repertory Society were pulling together their rendition of 'Barefoot in the Park', of which Jack and Agnes were the producers, when tragedy struck.

Jack was travelling to town to prepare for opening night when his vehicle collided with a train, claiming his life.

The twins took over the orchard and Agnes moved to town.

Agnes remained heavily involved in the community throughout the years and right up until today.

Whether it's been making fruit wines, craft making and weaving, volunteering at the art gallery - she's maintained an involvement with numerous groups.

A couple years after Jack's passing Agnes met Henry McKechnie.

He was the Member for Carnarvon and served as Minister for Local Government.

The pair later married and lived happily until Henry suffered a life altering stroke in 1974. He retired from political life and later passed in 1984 at the age of 68.

In later life she was hit with the travel bug, visiting numerous countries before returning home to a life of leisure on Granite St where she remains to this day at 100.

Agnes has 18 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.

Her life was commemorated in remarkable fashion during her 100th birthday party at the Stanthorpe Showgrounds on Saturday night.

Topics:  100th birthday boucher centenarian

Stanthorpe Border Post

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