Una celebrates her milestone birthday

LOVE: Una Farley is given three cheers by the staff at Stroud Community Lodge for her 100th birthday on May 9.
LOVE: Una Farley is given three cheers by the staff at Stroud Community Lodge for her 100th birthday on May 9.

She was Maitland's first female taxi driver - who didn't retire until age 82 - and now Una Farley is marking another rare milestone, celebrating her 100th birthday.

"I've had a great life," said Una, sitting in her sunlit room at Stroud Community Lodge she moved in to about four years ago.

She has her ears peeled for the calls of the Stroud Show being held at the showground across the road - an event the accomplished equestrian is all too familiar with.

She learned to ride plough horses when she was a three-years-old and later graduated to her favourite pony Trixie before she took on a spirited mare, Grey Betty.

"That's when I really learned to ride, she was just wonderful," recalls Una.

"It was an outdoor life. Horses were my life."

Born in her grandmother's house in Morpeth Road, East Maitland on May 9, 1919 Una Treasure had siblings William, Douglas, Betty and Joan. Her younger sister Joan McGregor lives nearby at Washpool.

She studied domestic science before working as a cashier at Nichols' butcher shop and then going to the munitions factory in Rutherford.

Una met Lance Farley when her father asked him to pick her up from pony club and Una said they shared the same interests, principally a love of horses.

The pair married in 1942 and Lance died in 1957.

Her love affair with taxi driving really started when she was asked to do a favour.

"I had my own car and was getting petrol at Mr Ford's garage just off the Long Bridge at Maitland," she said.

"I worked in the munitions factory as a driver during the war years and so he knew I had a public licence and asked me to pick someone up."

But before she could become a fully fledged taxi driver she had to jump through some hoops.

She said it was the then minister for roads, the late Milton Morris who instigated her securing the licence in 1954 - but she had restrictions of being off the road between dusk and dawn.

"I liked driving, it suited me well," she said.

"The one condition I always made, was that I could take time off for the show.

"I went to the Sydney Royal pretty well every year and it was like a family reunion."

Despite her 12 hour shifts, no matter what time of day she came in, Una always enjoyed a hot meal with three or four vegetables, after having a drink and counting her money.

"I liked the driving and I met a lot of different people."