Elizabeth Gardens was host to a spectacular celebration of Bro. William “Bill” Thomas Edwards’ 103rd birthday in September. Bill shared his day with his family, residents, carers and friends from Burwood Uniting Church. A special afternoon tea was organised by lifestyle coordinator Robyn Driver – with a lovely homemade cake and some colourful cupcakes prepared by resident Chef Priscilla O’Brien - to celebrate this special milestone birthday.

Bill’s long and colourful life has been characterised by hard work, community spirit and generosity.

In 2010, he won the Volunteer of the Year for the City of Whitehorse, a deserving achievement for someone who had spent over 50 years as a volunteer.

Not only had Bill been a hardworking builder, he also helped form the Bennetswood Bowling Club in 1959 where he

was a member of the Club Committee for 12 years as Chairman of Works and Buildings, a member of the Works, Building and Maintenance Committee from 1962 to 2010, and faithfully kept the Club’s historical records from 1959 to 1997.

Bro. Bill has been a Master Mason for 67 years of the United Grand Lodge of Antient, Free and Accepted Masons of Victoria, having been made a Freemason on 23rd May 1951.

Bill was born, schooled and employed in Ararat. His father was a master builder there and Bill was apprenticed to him when he left school at 14 in 1929 because of the Depression.

In 1937, Bill met his wife Lillian at Warburton while working on the Sanitarium Food Factory. They were married in 1940 and their love affair continued for 62 years.

During the Second Word War, he was engaged by the Australian Government Allied Works Council on various projects at Pukapunyal,

Bendigo and other locations for the Defence effort. He was awarded a medal for this period of service.

From 1949 -1955, Bill was appointed the supervisor for the construction of hospitals, nursing homes and ambulance stations throughout Victoria for the Government Hospitals and Charities Commission.

As a volunteer in 1957, he supervised the building of a scout hall at Hartwell. In 2016, at the age of 100, he cut the cake at the 100th year celebration of the 2nd Camberwell Scout Group at this hall.

Bill has lived in Burwood for 75 years and moved to Elizabeth Gardens at the age of 100 from the house he built in 1945.

“Bill has always been a prodigious person, a great father and husband, a marvellous brother and simply a special man in the lives of many,” explained Gary, Bill’s eldest son who joined him for his special day.

When he was asked, how does it feel to be 103? Bill humbly expressed,” It’s just another day for me!