Former school teacher celebrates her 100th birthday
A former school teacher and pioneering local government councillor celebrated her 100th birthday on the Gold Coast on September 15.
Great-grandmother Beatrice Tessier marked her milestone birthday with a high tea with family and friends at her home, the Carinity Cedarbrook aged care community in Mudgeeraba.
Beatrice was born to Louis and Olga Soucatch in Bundaberg in 1923. One of her fondest memories of childhood was of her and friends helping themselves to fruit from mango trees lining Bundaberg’s main street.
“As Beatrice couldn’t reach the mangoes, she scooped up the mangoes that had fallen on the ground. Taking her treasures home, she discovered they were full of maggots, after her initial bite,” said Beatrice’s daughter, Cherril Mealing.
“Her other favourite memory of her youth was riding on the handlebars of her best friend’s bike straight into the chief of police, who also happened to be the father of the best friend.”
Beatrice’s passion was education. At the age of 14 she moved to Warwick to become a teacher. This was her life’s calling.
During a teaching career which spanned half a century, Beatrice taught at convents and state schools in Toowoomba, Brisbane, Cleveland, Mossman and Miallo, near Port Douglas, where she served as Head Mistress.
Beatrice spent many years tutoring in later life after her retirement. This gave her great pleasure and sense of joy watching her students achieve.
She married the love of her life Cyril Tessier, who served as a gunner with the Australian Air Force during World War II, in St Joseph’s Church at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane in 1947. The couple had one daughter, Cherril.
Beatrice enjoyed dancing, baking and cake decorating, sewing, gardening, fossicking, and various arts including ceramics and painting.
Whilst working at Mossman State School, Beatrice was the first woman elected to Douglas Shire Council in far north Queensland, serving from 1976 to 1979.
She later retired to Malanda on a five-acre hobby farm, before relocating to Brisbane and then the Gold Coast to be closer to her grandson.
Beatrice, who has three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, moved to Carinity Cedarbrook in 2021 and remains active living there. She enjoys attending activities and exercise classes including Zumba sessions for seniors.
“Beatrice’s secret to her long life is keeping mentally active and contributing to her community; whether taking an active role in the Douglas Shire Council, decades of teaching young minds in the classroom, or supporting youngsters to achieve their goals in her retirement,” Cherril said.
Guests from as far away as Sydney, including former school students Beatrice taught, attended the centenarian’s birthday party.
Beatrice is the fifth resident of Carinity Cedarbrook to turn 100 since the aged care community opened in 2017.