‘Adventurous’ war nurse our latest centenarian
THERE must have been something in the water in 1919 after another Noosa local recently celebrated her 100th birthday.
Joan Ewen made her centenarian milestone on October 3 a lifetime so far worth celebrating.
Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Ms Ewen retired in Noosa in 1977 with late husband Murray.
At the time they lived in a unit in Doonella St, Tewantin before buying a block of land and building a home in Toulambi St just as Noosa Council was starting to develop Cooloola Heights.
Ms Ewan now lives with daughter and son-in-law Rosemary and Joseph Howard.
Ms Howard told of her mother’s her time as a wartime nurse, where she met her future husband.
Ms Ewan trained as a nurse at the Waikato Hospital in Hamilton during World War II and post ward accepted a two-year contract working in Fiji.
“In those days, the Colonial War Memorial hospital in Suva, was staffed by New Zealand trained nurses. It was there she met Murray Ewen, a radio officer, originally from Melbourne,” Ms Howards said.
“In 1954, Murray was transferred to Port Moresby where they remained for 12 years before being transferred to Madang, in PNG.
“In all they spent almost 20 years in PNG.”
The Ewans decided to settle in Noosa after three and a half years travelling Australia in their campervan.
“They walked the National Park and swam at Noosa Main Beach daily for many years,” Ms Howard said.
“Joan helped with the Red Cross blood transfusion service and busied herself with numerous other activities.
“Even into her 90s, Joan was still a keen traveller, visiting friends and relatives in New Zealand, Canada, the UK.”
Ms Ewan celebrated her birthday at home as an extended morning tea with about 60 relatives and friends who were present to read all the important letters especially that all exciting letter form the Queen.
“One notable attendee was Mrs Isobel Pert, who had known Joan since their time in Madang,” Ms Howards said.
“All in all it was a wonderful celebration of a remarkable lady.”