From South Africa to Australia, Xavier now a centenarian

A bilingual great-grandmother who owned a cinema and was a violinist and gymnastics instructor, Xavier Jacobs can now add centenarian to her life resume.

A resident of the Carinity Brookfield Green aged care community in Brisbane, Xavier was born in Pietersburg, South Africa on 8 April 1924.

Xavier Jacobs celebrated her 100th birthday at the Carinity Brookfield Green residential aged care community in Brisbane.
Xavier Jacobs will celebrate her 100th birthday at the Carinity Brookfield Green residential aged care community in Brisbane on April 8.

Xavier was one of five sisters, and is the only surviving sibling. She is bilingual, speaking both English and Afrikaans.

When Xavier was 16, she applied to join the army but was refused because she was considered too young.

Xavier met her husband Tobias Jacobs, a railway clerk, in Pietersburg. They married there in February 1947, at the age of 23.

The couple had four children but tragically, their daughter passed away only three days old.  Their three sons – Kenneth (75), Trevor (71) and Brian (70) – all went on to become engineers.

Xavier Jacobs on her wedding day in 1947
Xavier Jacobs on her wedding day in South Africa in 1947.

During her working life Xavier served in administrative positions as a shorthand typist then an office worker for the railway – and owned businesses including a cinema. She was also a gymnastics instructor and played the violin.

Xavier’s husband passed away at the age of 60 which left her widowed.  She moved to Pretoria to be closer to her children and grandchildren and played an active and loving role in their lives.

Xavier loved to bake and always provided the family with delicious cakes. When the families went on holiday, she baked tins of a variety of biscuits to take with them.

A keen knitter, Xavier spoiled her grandchildren with knitted baby and toddler clothes. In her later years she kept all the family’s feet warm and was famous for her bed socks and knitted blankets.

Xavier Jacobs pictured in her younger years
Xavier Jacobs pictured in her younger years.

Over the years Xavier’s three sons immigrated to Australia so she decided to relocate in 2011, at the age of 87. She moved to Carinity Brookfield Green in 2017, living in the former Miller Terraces. She is a foundation resident of Residences at Brookfield Green which opened in 2018.

Xavier’s sons and daughters-in-law have gifted her 10 grandchildren – with six great-grandchildren added to the family tree more recently.

Xavier likes to socialise and can be found chatting with Brookfield Green residents and staff or enjoying activities. She enjoys going out for coffee, watching movies, walks and staying active.

Described as a “real lady”, Xavier always has a good sense of humour and is very much loved by her extended Carinity family.

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