Still living in her own flat and cooking dinner for her family every Sunday night, Miriam (affectionately known as Nanny) is a true-blue Coffs Harbour local.
Still living in her own flat and cooking dinner for her family every Sunday night, Miriam (affectionately known as Nanny) is a true-blue Coffs Harbour local. The Advocate

Miriam still calls Coffs home after 87 years

YOU'D be hard pressed to find a 93-year-old woman with more heart and passion for life than Miriam Williamson.

Still living in her own flat and cooking dinner for her family every Sunday night, Miriam (affectionately known as Nanny) is a true-blue Coffs Harbour local.

Carried in a basket, Nanny came ashore to Coffs Harbour in 1921 - and her family spent their early years pioneering at Bonville. After marrying Bill Williamson in the 1940s, Nanny moved to Upper Orara where she and Bill worked establishing a banana plantation from almost virgin bush.

At a time when women rarely did any kind of hard labour, Nanny found herself working right alongside the men - and not only could she match them, she could out-do them. And in the early days of the Orara Fair, Nanny even took out the banana cake-making competition.

She proved her character again when she found herself solely running the banana plantation - carrying bunches of bananas over her shoulder to the packing shed.

Although Nanny worked hard, she always found time for her family and the community. She was an amazing mother to her three daughters - Barbara, Nancy and Beverly and while in Orara was a member of the CWA, Agriculture Bureau and P&C.

The family relocated to Coffs Harbour in their later years and Nanny worked as a chef at the Plantation Hotel.

But, some years later and after Bill had passed away, Nanny took another path. On advice from her daughters, Nanny answered an advertisement for a chef in a resort on Lord Howe Island - and spent the next two summers baking bread for all the guests.

Nowadays, Nanny lives in her own flat, and is as bright and vibrant as ever. Not only does she crochet a knee rug for every member of the family (that's all 31 of her children, grandchildren and great, great grandchildren), her family dinners have become so famous that her family published a cookbook with all her best recipes - and all the family have one.

But despite her amazing life Nanny said she didn't really have a secret, just some simple words of advice. “Hard work never hurt anybody.”

Do you know a community hero? Email editorial@coffscoastadvocate.com.au.



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