Brownesholme aged care celebrates first 100th birthday
A long-time Oakey community worker who supported Australia’s war effort has celebrated a major milestone.
Clare Bothmann, who now lives at the Carinity Brownesholme aged care community in Highfields, turned 100 years old on 8 January.
She was born in Goondiwindi in 1923, the much-loved youngest child of Walter and Wilhelmina Chappell.
Growing up in Toowoomba, the self-confessed “tomboy” played cricket and football, climbed trees with her three brothers, and learned to drive a car at 14. At the age of 13, Clare’s parents bought her a piano which she lovingly played and remains one of her greatest enjoyments to this day.
When Clare finished school she was offered a job at a local fruit shop, then spent a short time working at the Church of England boys’ school. During World War II, Clare worked at the Toowoomba foundry making special parts for classified military projects.
It was at the foundry where Clare met Keith Werner. After a courtship of two years, they married at St. Steven’s Uniting Church in Toowoomba in 1942. After the war, the couple worked on dairy farms and eventually returned to Keith’s family farm at Biddeston.
Together, Clare and Keith built a new home, which included life-changing electricity, and they welcomed and raised two daughters and one son.
After Keith sadly passed away at the age of 39, Clare leased the farm but continued to live there until she met her second husband-to-be, George Bothmann. They moved with Clare’s children to Oakey, where Clare lived for 53 years. Clare and George’s marriage lasted for 50 years until George passed away in 2007.
Clare worked as a stewardess at the Oakey aviation base for seven years and was an active member in the local community, involved in the Lutheran Church, Lifeline, senior citizens club, and Ozcare Respite Centre.
She sang in the Oakey Seniors Choir which entertained local aged care residents. Clare’s daughter, Lyn Mason, said her mother “really enjoyed the friendship of this choir which gave so much pleasure and joy to many”.
“Clare has seen many changes throughout her life and feels blessed to have had good health and a loving family. She remains a very bright, happy, good-humoured lady who continues to live an interesting and active life,” Lyn said.
“She was blessed with three children who remain a very loving, supportive and close family and can also boast seven grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.”
Clare continued to live in the Bothmann family home until she was 98 years old, before she moved to the Carinity Brownesholme residential aged care community.
Carinity Brownesholme Residential Manager, Jane Mackney, said Clare will always have a special place in the hearts of the aged care staff at Highfields.
“Not only was Clare the first resident to move into our then new aged care community when it opened in 2021, she is also the first Carinity Brownesholme resident to turn 100 years old,” Jane said.
“Befitting this double celebration, Clare had two special birthday events to celebrate becoming a new centenarian. She enjoyed a party with family and friends at Oakey RSL on her birthday, followed by another party at Brownesholme three days later.”