Former Southland woman celebrates her 101st birthday
Dorothy Brazier was born on September 8, 1921 and celebrates her 101st birthday this year.
Confined to a hospital bed to celebrate her 100th birthday during the confinement of 2021, Dorothy Brazier can this year celebrate her 101st birthday surrounded by her family.
Brazier, née Earley, was born on September 8, 1921, and while last year she was only allowed two visitors to celebrate her birthday, this year she will be able to spend it with her extended family, including her great-grandchildren.
Dot was born in Dunedin before moving to Nightcaps, Southland in 1942 to live with her husband Bill.
Bill worked underground in the mines of Ohai, where he had several brushes with death.
* Ohai Coal Battle: Meet the young person fighting against the industry his small town was built on
* What will happen to mining towns in a coal-free future?
* Against the current anti-coal position in the smoky town of Southland
There were several mines throughout Nightcaps, Tinkertown and Ohai, both underground and surface, and a private railway line carried a small engine named “Pie Cart” which picked up miners at the station.
Miners worked in pairs underground. Sometimes the mines would collapse, flood or burst into flames and a siren would sound for everyone to get rid of.
Dot can remember how one of Bill’s friends died in a coal fall that left Bill half-buried.
Even 10 years later he would have shards of charcoal coming out of his head which she would pull out with tweezers.
Motherhood in Southland in the 1940s was different, with no disposable nappies and no snow, causing house pipes to freeze.
On cold days, Dot would heat smooth stones in the oven for the children to hold and put in their pockets to keep them warm while they went to school.
In 1950, a fire swept through Nightcaps on a windy day, resulting in the loss of the hotel, town hall, garage, Grant’s linen shop, and Sinclair’s studio.
Dot said: “Nightcaps was a very tidy little town where everyone knew each other and helped each other”.
Highlights of her life include friendship, making clothes, food and canes, and playing golf and tennis, but she missed her husband and the friends she lost along the way.
When asked what the secret to a long life is, Dot says it eludes her.