Thursday, September 7, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

George Celebrates 102nd Birthday

One of the oldest surviving World War II veterans in the country celebrated his 102nd birthday at the Proserpine RSL on Sunday Afternoon.

George Gnezdiloff was surrounded by friends, family and even strangers that took the time to stop-by and congratulate him on his most recent lap around the sun.

Councillor Jan Clifford attended the event to wish him well and his two daughters and their two cousins jointly hosted the lively spread for over 50 guests to enjoy.

An accomplished World War II veteran, George spent many years serving in the Australia Air Force as an aircraft wireless operator.

While abroad on the war effort, he met his wife Mary Savage, in Millom England, at a dancing hall.

He thought she was the most beautiful dancer in the building and vowed to marry her.

Engaged for a short time, Mary called off the wedding and left George.

Fortunately, she soon changed her mind and returned to George, following her heart, and moving to Australia to be with him.

In January 1946, George was officially discharged from the Air Force and worked odd jobs before Mary arrived and the pair travelled to Townsville, where George’s family lived.

In Townsville, George re-trained as a Health Inspector and was offered a position in Barcaldine.

It was in 1952 that George and Mary’s first child, Robert, was born. The young family then moved to Mareeba, where George was Health Inspector, Building Inspector, and Plumbing Inspector for 20 years, before the family decided to relocate to Proserpine.

The couple went onto to have five children, three boys and two girls, with numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren having now followed.

Moving to Proserpine in 1971, George was employed as the Chief Health Surveyor and Building Inspector for 15 years, until his retirement in 1986.

A prominent figure in Proserpine, George was instrumental in the construction of the Proserpine Nursing Home and has continued to be active in the community.

Sadly, Mary passed away in October 2015, aged 89.

For the past two years, George has resided at the Proserpine Nursing Home and, as the driving force behind its creation, now reaps the benefits of seeds planted many years ago.

Proserpine local George Gnezdiloff turned 102 over the weekend. Photo credit: Rachael Smith

Councillor Jan Clifford wishes George a happy birthday.

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