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Elaine Woods of Maclean was to celebrate her 90th birthday on 7 May with her family, however the planned surprise party had to be cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions. (This photo was taken on Christmas day last year). Image: contributed

Birthday celebrations on hold

Elaine Woods of Maclean was to celebrate her 90th birthday on Thursday last week with her family, but due to coronavirus the planned celebrations had to be cancelled.

Elaine Ella Woods (nee Apps) was born on 7th May 1930, at Nurse Gallagher’s Private Hospital in McLachlan Street, Maclean.

She was the youngest of the three children of Dudley and Ella Apps (nee Philp).

Elaine spent her early life on a dairy farm at South Arm, Woodford Island and attended school at Tyndale and Maclean, before finishing school at the age of 14.

She met railway employee Trevor Woods, a Lawrence lad, and they were married in December 1949, at the Methodist Church in Maclean.

The couple had three children, Ross in 1951, Judy in 1953 and Tracy in 1970.

Elaine worked at the Maclean hospital in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s in the kitchen, as well as other domestic work.

Over the years Trevor had been a farm worker, cane cutter, had his own truck, worked with Maclean Shire Council, had a milk contract with the Ulmarra Dairy Co-op and drove cane trucks to the Harwood Sugar Mill.

In the early 1970’s Trevor and Elaine purchased ta trawler, Slippery Jim, which was built by Jim Bultitude, of Yamba.

The family moved to Bowen, Queensland, where they lived for a couple of years before returning to Maclean.

Brooms Head was a favourite holiday place for the family in the early years and in later years Elaine and Trevor did some caravanning, travelling over to Perth a couple of times and around the country. They also did a coach trip to Tasmania and had a holiday in New Zealand.

Trevor passed-away on 22 January 2002 in the Maclean hospital, at the age of 73.

In her spare time Elaine loves gardening and she only stopped mowing her very-large yard about four years ago (using the ride- on for most of it).

Elaine only gave up her driver’s licence about twelve months ago and she continues to enjoy going to the Maclean RSL raffles.

The family had planned a surprise gathering at the Maclean RSL Club for her birthday but due to the COVID-19, they had to cancel the event. Instead her ‘kids’ and other family members have posted birthday cards and her mailbox has never been so full.

Elaine has seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren (with another due in July).

Elaine is a 5th generation descendant of a First Fleeter, John Nichols, who arrived in Australia on the Scarborough in 1788.