Born in Bundaberg on June 9, 1918, Herbert Woodward served 1597 days as a Sapper in the Australian Army before being discharged in 1945. During WWII, Herb went AWOL in Queensland to see his love. As he tells it, he handed himself in and begged for forgiveness. Herb’s Commanding Officer granted him leave without charge.
Herb and his father built many of the homes in Childers and Gin Gin. In the early 1960s, Herb built the South Bundaberg residence that he and his family called home for 55 years. The father of two confesses the cavity brick house was only “as finished as a carpenter ever finishes anything”.
Today, Herb lives at RSL Fairways Retirement Village and is regarded by many as “his worship, the unofficial Mayor of Bundaberg”. Not long after celebrating his 100th birthday, Herb declined to participate in a seated physiotherapy class because it was “for bloody old people”.
Crush Magazine enjoyed a Sunday morning cuppa with Herb and a few of his veteran mates at Alowishus Delicious in Earls Court arcade late last year. Charming and vivacious as ever; Herb shared his thoughts on living your best life at any age.
What’s your pick me up Herb?
A flat white with two sugars. Classic.
Favourite local coffee shop, and why?
Alowishus. I come here for the hugs from Tracey (owner). About 20 years ago I ran into an old mate who introduced me to these fellows. The next week I turned up again and we’ve been meeting for weekly coffee ever since. Before I met these blokes I had nowhere to turn to talk. We settle in for the morning, but we don’t talk about war. It’s just camaraderie.
I reckon Bundaberg is the best place in the world. A good summer and a good winter; what more could
you want? It’s a good town, and when I was young there were half a dozen dance halls around the place.
What are the ingredients for a good life?
Exercise, keep your mind active, don’t over do it. My advice for the young fellas of today is to stay on the right side of the law. Work hard; you don’t have to be paid for it. Learn, learn, learn – every day is a learning process.
What makes you happy?
Definitely not coming out with Dusty (pictured)! But I would say mateship. I’m a Freemason. When I was discharged, there were blokes looking after blokes, but no one was caring for the widows. So I joined Legacy. If they’d lost their husband, I’d go out and see them and try to put them on the right track to get assistance.
Bush or beach?
I love the surf.
Sunrise or sunset?
Any final words of wisdom?
Look for the good. Find something throughout the day that cheers you up.