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Marking a milestone . . . Timaru centenarian Arthur Jackson looks over his old photos in the lead-up to his 100th birthday, which he celebrated with friends and family yesterday. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

by Alexia Johnston

At the age of 12, Arthur Jackson spent his school holidays picking cherries for a penny a pound and catching steam trains between Central Otago and South Canterbury.

He shared those fond memories with The Courier and reminisced with friends and family during his 100th birthday celebrations in Timaru yesterday.

He was joined by younger brother Ivan during The Courier’s visit last week. The pair recalled the good old days, which featured farming, fishing and hunting. Sadly, Ivan died suddenly on Sunday night.

“The older you get, the quicker it goes.” – Arthur Jackson

The pair also had three sisters – Daphne, Ailsa and Dorothy.

The brothers had a close connection, agreeing last week the years had flown by.

“The older you get, the quicker it goes,” Arthur said.

“We used to go down to Wanaka picking fruit for my uncle down there,” he said, when asked what his fondest memories were.

Younger years . . . Arthur Jackson as a baby when he lived in Waimate. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

“I did that for about three or four years .. for Uncle Fred. He was a good old chap. He used to put us on the train at Cromwell when we were finished and ready to go back to school.”

Mr Jackson also recalled a stint shifting hay on a farm near Lake Hawea.

However, Arthur Jackson did not spend all his time in Otago. He was born in Waimate and moved to Timaru with his family when he was about 3.

At the age of 17, he started working at remote Lilybank Station,at the head of Lake Tekapo.

“I went up there for a fortnight and stayed two years and four months, helping on the farm.

“I tell you what – I had the best of everything there. The best of shooting, the best of fishing,” Mr Jackson said, adding he only gave up fishing last year.

Following his stint at Lilybank, he moved to Christchurch, where he drove a truck for an oil company before returning to South Canterbury to take over his father’s rural delivery mail run.

The job involved 177km of driving each day to Taiko, Levels, Seadown, Kerrytown and beyond.

“It was all on shingle roads as well.”

He and a friend later took on a wool and skin-buying company, which was based in Ashburton.

Mr Jackson married Joan (nee Ellis) about 70 years ago. They had two children, Loraine and Graeme. Joan died in 1980.

who now lives at Strathallan Lifecare. They will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary on December 23.

Mr Jackson, who still lives in his Timaru home, celebrated his big day yesterday at the Timaru Town and Country Club, of which he is a life member.

“I still pay my fee, though,” he joked.