The Port Pirie 36ers notch up another year

MILESTONE: The group of the residents were all born when South Australia marked its 100th birthday since settlement.
MILESTONE: The group of the residents were all born when South Australia marked its 100th birthday since settlement.

For the residents in Port Pirie born in 1936, birthdays have an extra special significance.

Known as the 36ers, the residents were born when South Australia marked a coming of age with its 100th birthday since settlement.

Later, on their 50th birthdays, they were recognised at the state's 1986 Jubilee, marking 150 years since settlement.

The government commemorated the occasion by giving everyone two and sixpence in bank book and a money box.

Up until four years ago, a couple in Adelaide who were both born in 1936 had organised an event every five years where people from all over the state that were born on the commemorative year could come together and share in their common experiences.

These events were held throughout Adelaide including at the Festival Centre, Convention Centre, Morphettville race course and the Entertainment Centre.

A large group of people had been travelling in the bus from Port Pirie to Adelaide to attend these events.

Four years ago, when the Port Pirie 36ers heard that there would no longer be events held in Adelaide every five years, they took it upon themselves to organise their own events locally.

Organiser Venie Johnson said the job had been given to her to organise a local event while the group was travelling from Port Pirie for the last event in Adelaide.

"I've done it for four years now and we have done one every year!" she said.

"We have got to 84 and we feel that we were sort of a bit special by the government by doing this for us.

"I think they should give us another two and sixpence when we are 90!"

The group, comprising of about 16 people and their partners, celebrated the 36ers' yearly lunch at the Port Football and Community Sporting Club this week, just before COVID restrictions kicked in.

"Getting together and seeing some people that you only see once a year is really good," Venie said.

"For a lot of the women we see each other all the time but its just a social life and novelty that we were all born in the same year."

PHOTO, above: The 36ers comprise, front, left Nancy Jaeschke, Marlene McKay, Betty Cousins, Coral Partridge, Verna Simpson, Veronica Pryor, Aileen McLaughlin, and, back, Margaret Finlay, Coralene Mudge, Venie Johnson, Frank Amato, Frank Petagna, Kevin Connor, Graham Joyce and Margaret Shadwell.

PHOTO, left: Nancy Jaeschke holds her money box tin and money book, which states a deposit of two schillings six pence on August 19, 1936.

Nancy Jaeschke.

Nancy Jaeschke.