Sep 242015

In honour of Centenarian Day I present Richard John Rollason.

Richard  was born 14 July 1845 Pudding Pitts, Foleshill Warwickshire, England. 

He emigrated with his parents and siblings and his uncle and his family arriving in Brisbane Queensland 18 May 1863 aboard the Light Brigade. Their passage was paid by the Queensland Government as part of the Distressed Cotton Operatives Scheme (even though they were actually silk ribbon weavers! but that is another story). Their ship’s kit and supplies were paid for by the Poor Law commissioners.

Richard married Lucy Evans 4 December 1878 in Brisbane.

Richard John Rollason & Lucy nee Evans about 1900

The Telegraph 11 July 1945
Mr Richard Rollason, of Lintern Street, Red Hill, is celebrating his 100th birthday next Saturday.
A fresh complexioned old man with a thatch of white hair and a strong voice, Mr Rollason celebrated the occasion when a   “Telegraph” reporter called at his home during the week by singing five verses of a hymn in a resonant baritone that could be heard all round the neighbourhood. When his daughter-in-law suggested at the end of the fourth   verse that the old gentleman might be tiring himself, Mr Rollason scorned the idea, saw the hymn through to its finish, and even added a chorus. Mr Rollason was born in Coventry, England eight years   after Queen Victoria came to the   throne. When he was 18 he came to Queensland and got a job in a baker’s shop at Spring Hill at 4/ a week and keep. Neither the salary nor the conditions he says, with a twinkle, appealed   to him, so one night he   packed his bag and ran away to take a job in a butcher’s shop at a weekly increase of 3/6. A few years later saw him trying his luck on the Gympie gold- fields. “I never found any gold, except a few grains,” he says, “and soon came creeping back to my mother barefoot and hungry.” But it was all grand experience for a young man, and it stood to me.” Mr Rollason is the father of nine children, seven still living, and has 18 grandchildren— one of them serving in Bougainville — and eight   great-grandchildren. He is rather deaf and almost blind, but his humour is keen, his memory good, and he has not seen a doctor in three years. His sight difficulties offer no serious obstacle to his activities. He finds his way about the house with uncanny confidence. He walked down 16 steps to have his photograph taken in the garden, brushing aside any offers of   assistance. “I can manage fine,” he said, and counted the steps carefully under his breath as he made the long   descent.   Mr Rollason loves the wireless and says that now he is no longer able to read he would “go melancholy” without it. His remarkably long life occasions him no great surprise. If told, “You are a remarkable man, Mr. Rollason,” he gives a disbelieving nudge and says, “Get away with you. Nothing of the kind.”

Richard on his 101st birthday.    

Richard was a teetotaler (and long term member of the Independent Order of Rechabites Pioneer Tent Brisbane) and non-smoker his entire life.

Richard died in the Royal Brisbane Hospital 6 November 1946 after a fall causing a broken hip. He is buried in Toowong Cemetery.

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