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Rick Murphy

Ethel Joycelyn Murphy (nee Beales) is celebrating an amazing milestone this month — her 100th birthday!

Joy was born in the Chittering Valley on 14 of September 1921 to parents Ernest and Lily Beales, who had settled there in 1914 to establish a citrus orchard. Joy was the youngest of three children, with two older brothers, Ernie and Len, both of whom were Chittering Valley orchardists. Phillip Beales, grandson of Earnest, still remains a resident in the Chittering Valley.

The name Beales has been a household name in Chittering citrus for more than a hundred years. Joy made a solid contribution to the business through her teenage years, working on the orchard with her father, brothers and local workmen. Joy was educated at Lower Chittering’s single- teacher school, riding a horse to and from, and quickly became a student with purpose and intent. Joy gathered a knowledge and love of poetry, developed a wonderful command of the English language and was able to recite many poems from memory.

In addition, Joy was very musically gifted with a wonderful soprano singing voice and sang at many functions held at Lower Chittering Hall. As entertainment during this period of time was largely singing and dancing, Joy also learned to play piano from sheet music, practising with black and white keys painted onto weatherboard. Evening singalongs were a favourite pastime, so Joy was able to provide the music and many great evenings were spent around the piano.

This idyllic lifestyle changed dramatically in 1939 with the onset of World War 2. Many locals enlisted and Bullsbrook boy Thomas Keith Murphy — who Joy had been keeping an eye on — commenced training at Pearce to become a pilot. He subsequently qualified and was posted to Townsville for active duties in the Pacific Islands. A few days leave was approved in 1942 and on May 30 Joy and Keith’s wedding took place.

With Keith away until his discharge in 1946, Joy remained on the orchard with her father, as sadly in 1943 her mother passed away. Later that year, Joy moved to Perth and lived in various places, only seeing Keith from time-to-time when he was granted leave. Joy worked at Shirley’s Frock Shop in Hay Street until the date of discharge. This was a great time of friendship and until recently the Shirley’s girls met once a year for lunch.

Finally, the day of discharge arrived and Joy and Keith bought a citrus orchard in Lower Chittering, not too far from where Joy had spent her early years, and began their life together as citrus orchardists. Following the war years, life once again returned to some normality and community spirit returned.

Joy played netball for Lower Chittering and was active in the local CWA. Weekend tennis was a happy, social gathering filled with enthusiastic, competitive spirit. Local dances also provided much enjoyment around Chittering, where friendships were rekindled and local news discussed.

Joy supported Keith on the orchard, picking and packing fruit. In those early days, lots of fruit was exported overseas, with each orange individually wrapped. Winters were very cold in the Valley and summers seemed very hot, but the fruit cycle continued regardless.

Joy raised three children in the Chittering Valley. Two attended Bullsbrook Junior High School. The farm was sold in 1961 and the family moved from the Valley to Geraldton. A further three years later they relocated back to Perth, where Joy and Keith both became real estate agents and operated Park Estate Agency in Victoria Park, until retirement.

In retirement Joy and Keith lived in South Perth, Attadale, Forrestdale and Salters Point, where sadly Keith passed away in 1999. Joy remained in Salters Point for some time and in the last few years has resided in a retirement village in Como. She she still lives by herself with a little assistance from outside help. Joy’s three children offer her great assistance with her two daughters doing the majority of weekly help.

Joy has eight grandchildren, twenty-two great-grandchildren, and thirteen great-great-grandchildren – two of which were born on her 99th birthday! They’ll celebrate their first birthdays as their great-great grandmother celebrates her 100th. She of course knows them all by name, their age and when their birthday is.

Joy congratulations on an amazing life, very well lived through times of hardship and ease. You are truly the matriarch of our family.

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