100: Dorothy Donaldson celebrated early and reflected on her time in the Women’s Air Force on Tuesday. Photos: EDWINA WILLIAMS

Dorothy celebrates her century

November 9, 2019 BY

A FORMER member of the Women’s Air Force, Ballarat’s Dorothy Donaldson marked her one hundredth birthday on Tuesday at the Ballarat Airport.

In the company of the Air Force Association Ballarat Branch community she reflected on her life, including time in the Air Force, joining in 1941, and marrying her former fighter pilot husband.

“Being in the Air Force, I loved the fact that we were on the station with 400 girls and 10,000 men,” Mrs Donaldson laughed.

But she said there was one thing “very apparent” this week.

“Just how many friends I’ve got. They’ve put themselves out for me,” she said. “People, as you get older, have a lot of patience for you and people are very kind.”

Ms Donaldson with her sons, Roger and Peter Donaldson.

Mrs Donaldson’s sons, Roger and Peter Donaldson travelled from California and Sydney respectively to celebrate their mum this week, and will hold a party with 84 members of family, and friends, at the Swiss Mountain hotel on Friday.

“Some of Roger’s kids are coming from London, New York, Auckland, Brisbane… The whole family’s turning up,” Peter said.

Reflecting on their mother’s life, they are proud of how worldly she is.

“Mum’s always loved to travel and she’s got stories of her travels all over the world,” Roger said.

Ms Donaldson has been passionate about seeing the whole globe, but Pakistan was a standout.

“I loved all of my trips, especially camping in the Hindu Kush… Travelling on the Karakorum Highway from Pakistan into far western China,” she said.

Peter and Roger think they’re pretty “lucky guys” to still enjoy their mum’s company.

“She’s still very much involved with the world, sees more movies than I see, reads the newspaper, and even though she’s having trouble with her sight and mobility, her brain’s still 100 per cent,” Roger said.

“She’s very philosophical about her life and age. There are not many people you can talk to about what it was like 90 years ago.

“If you stack her up against people who are 100, there’s not many who have as much get-up-and-go, drive and good stories as she has… While mum’s alive, we’re still ‘the boys,’” Roger said.