A golden connection to the past
- This year Jessie Pollock celebrated her 104th birthday
- Jessie is a resident at IRT Moruya
- She has a long and proud association with the local area
- Her father and late husband were both miners
IRT Moruya’s Jessie Pollock has lived in the Moruya area for all of her 104 years and is described by local historian Norm Moore as the longest-living pioneer of Moruya’s gold rush days.
Jessie was born and raised near the goldfields of Dwyers Creek, near Moruya. She was one of seven children, but sadly one of her older brothers died young.
The family lived on a 20-acre farm and her father also worked in the gold mines. However working in the mines meant he was exposed to dust containing silica and developed silicosis.
“I was two years old when my father died,” she says. “So our mother raised us on her own.”
Jessie remembers going to school at Dwyers Creek with her siblings. “But that school closed so we had to go to Moruya Public School,” she says.
At the age of 14 Jessie left school and worked on the farm to help her mother. “We took our milk to the Moruya Cheese Factory,” she says. The factory is still standing today.
Jessie says Dwyers Creek was a busy place when she was young with plenty of gold mines and miners – including those seeking their own fortunes and those employed by the mines. She stayed on the farm until she was married at age 20 to her late husband Bill, a miner. They had four children – one girl and three boys.
Of the gold mining days she remembers gold being smelted and made into gold bars, and then being collected to take to the bank. “They just rode on horses with the gold bars, there was no need for guards,” she says.
Over the years Jessie has lived through bushfires and floods and remembers cows being washed up in Moruya town ship during a big flood. “Another time we got stranded at Dwyers Creek for three days during floods,” she says.
Jessie has made a large contribution to the local community over the years and was a volunteer with Moruya Hospital Auxiliary for 40 years.
Jessie says the secret to a long life is getting back to basics. “Eating clean food – growing up our milk wasn’t pasteurised,” she says.
Looking back on her ten-plus decades Jessie says she’s had a good life. “I had a good husband and a wonderful mother. I was very lucky and I have no regrets.”
Thanks to Jessie for sharing her story and to Norm Moore and the Beagle Weekly for additional reporting. To read more about Jessie visit The Beagle Weekly www.beagleweekly.com.au/normmoorehistory. The Beagle Weekly also celebrates local history and you can read more from the Moruya District Historical Society at www.beagleweekly.com.au/history.