Lifestyle

Life has been his great teacher

FULL OF LIFE: Lewis Ellem has an exceptional life story.
FULL OF LIFE: Lewis Ellem has an exceptional life story. Trevor Veale

WHILE Lewis Ellem's story certainly proves he has lived almost a century, his cheeky demeanour and spritely independence tell otherwise.

The First Fleet descendant has lived an incredible life and continues to do so on the Northern Beaches of the Coffs Coast.

Born at Kungala on December 31, 1915, Mr Ellem had a rough start to life - contracting meningitis at four and then diphtheria at seven - but proved his fighting spirit by beating the almost always fatal diseases.

Mr Ellem didn't start school until he was 10, when his father built a school and gathered enough students to attract a teacher. He passed his entrance exam to high school in just three-and-a-half years and went on to be Grafton High School's captain, dux and Citizen of the Year in 1934.

He moved on to Armidale Teacher's College in 1934, the start of a long and illustrious teaching career. It included teaching stints at Urbenville, Rappville, a small one-teacher school at Kennackle Creek, Gladesville Public School and headmastership at an Aboriginal school in Bellbrook on the Nulla Creek, where he was also manager of the Aboriginal Station from 1952-1953.

When at Gladesville Public School, Mr Ellem completed his BA degree from Sydney University. Following that he was principal of a large school at Captain's Flat, Murrumburrah Intermediate High School and finally Grafton Primary School where he saw out the rest of his teaching days, retiring in 1975.

"I've enjoyed my life of teaching; I've met some wonderful people, magnificent teachers and it's been great to follow the successes of my students," Mr Ellem said.

It wasn't just school where he excelled. In fact his entire family was exceptional at cricket, so big they had their own team, and their successes have been honoured with Ellem Oval in Grafton being named after them.

Although he had visited Woolgoolga during his years, the family decided to make it their home in 1960 and settled with his late wife Rita and two sons Gregory and Warren.

Since retiring Mr Ellem has written three books and an extensive history on the Ellem family.

So what's his secret to such a fulfilling life?

"I blame my wife being an incredibly good cook, I've always been active in sport and my daughter-in-law tells me I'm very competitive."



Coffs Coast place names rude enough to make you blush

WHAT'S THAT? The Coffs Coast is home to a number of rudely named places.

Coffs Coast put on the map for having some of the rudest names

Best in the orchid business set to bloom

BEST IN SHOW: Last year's Grand Champion Orchid winner Neil Campbell is awarded the trophy by bcu Woolgoolga and Northside branch manager, Karen Mills.

Woolgoolga District Orchid Society Annual Spring Show is back

Backpacker tax to be slashed by almost half

CUT BACK: The Backpacker tax has been reduced by almost half of the originally proposed 32.5% rate.

The controversial tax has been cut but by nearly half

Local Partners

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber split

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber have split after 11 years together.

Why Chris Hemsworth was spotted wearing nail polish

RED CARPET: Do you think Chris Hemsworth is the typical unpolished but well-natured Aussie bloke?

He's now officially the best bloke in Australia

Testament's new album is a concept album

ROME, ITALY- JULY 27, 2016: Testament photographed at The Roman Collisseium in Rome, Italy on July 27,2016. Gene Ambo

Testament to release new album

'Baby' recreates famous Nirvana cover shot 25 years later

The baby from Nevermind album has recreated the iconic cover shot.

PREVIEW: Luke Cage origin story is a strong addition to MCU

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage.

MIKE Colter stars as latest Marvel superhero to get his own series.

Kate goes down fighting in heated Survivor elimination

Australian Survivor contestant Kate Campbell.

YOGA teacher's 'good guys' alliance fails to get off the ground.

Coffs region is hot property

The region’s housing market is looking up, with projects on the radar in Tannum Sands and Boyne Island.

Units and houses are both pulling strong returns for Coffs

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction

Peppers Airlie Beach put on the market

ON THE MARKET: Peppers Airlie Beach is being for recievership sale by CBRE Hotels and PRD Nationwide Airlie Beach.

Peppers Airlie Beach is being offered for sale.