Proserpine's Eric Hinschen celebrated his 100th birthday on June 23.
Proserpine's Eric Hinschen celebrated his 100th birthday on June 23. Monique Preston

Celebrating a century of life

"YOUR life is what you make it."

Those were the words of wisdom from Proserpine's Eric Hinschen, who turned 100 last Sunday.

Mr Hinschen was born in Proserpine Private Hospital, which was opposite the cemetery in those days, to Marge and Peter Hinschen on June 23, 1919.

He was the fifth of nine children in the family.

While he has certainly proven otherwise, at one stage it did not look like he would live a long life, after he contracted polio at the age of four.

He was the first person in Proserpine to get the disease and was one of three who had it at the time.

Having polio meant that Mr Hinschen had to spend two years and six weeks in hospital.

To his day he still has some effects of the the disease - one of his feet has turned in later years and he only has one proper lung as the other one did not develop properly.

His left arm and leg are also smaller than his right.

 

Proserpine's Eric Hinschen celebrated his 100th birthday on June 23.
LETTER FROM THE QUEEN: Proserpine's Eric Hinschen celebrated his 100th birthday on June 23. Monique Preston

Mr Hinschen doesn't dwell on those things though.

"I've had a pretty good life," he said.

In his younger days he was a keen sportsman, playing tennis and cricket.

"I used to win a lot," he said of tennis, which he played until the age of 40.

In fact, tennis was where he met his wife, Muriel Crompton, with whom he went on to have three children - Peter, Dennis and Roslyn.

As for cricket, Mr Hinschen was a handy bowler while playing the sport until he married at the age of 28.

His best bowling figures were 7/28, while he also once made 91 not out and won a new bat for his efforts.

Nowadays he enjoys a good game of cards, playing at least weekly at Whitsunday Leisure Activity Centre in Proserpine.

When he was young, Mr Hinschen went to school at Strathdickie School, however he said he did not spend much time there and finished in Year 5.

"I wasn't at school very much," he said.

Growing up on a cane farm, Mr Hinschen and his brother used to work the farm with their father, untilit was eventually sold.

His working life also included a 19-year stint at the sugar mill in Proserpine and time as a janitor and groundsman at a primary school.

He thinks it is his hard work that is part of the secret to his long life.

"I worked hard all my life," he said.

"Anyone who works hard, lives longer."

As for celebrating his 100th birthday, Mr Hinschen thinks that is something special.

"I think it's pretty wonderful," he said.