Tiger’s tales span the century

Fred Kilby cuts the cake on his 100th birthday.


An ever-active Fred Kilby celebrated 100 years with family face-to-face and online on Monday 16 November.

When he was born, the world faced the post World War I rebuild, the Spanish Flu epidemic and his beloved Richmond Tigers won their first premiership.

A century on, there must be a sense of life coming full circle.

The World War II naval veteran and Keysborough Bowls Club life member keeps up a regular exercise regime including quoits, hookey and carpet bowls at Belvedere Aged Care in Noble Park.

He is still known to regale stories of his wartime service on the “Stella” to Carwatha Secondary College students for their VCAL history assignments.

Born in 1920 in Richmond, Fred was brought up in a single-parent home in Collingwood.

“Life was hard then and was going to get worse with the looming depression and WWII rapidly approaching,” a Belvedere spokesperson said.

Mr Kilby enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy as a stoker – just 16 days after marrying his 17-year-old bride Shirley.

Their loving, happy marriage continued for almost 50 years.

Mr Kilby was discharged from naval service after the Second World War, in May 1946.

The Kilbys settled in Hamilton, Victoria where Fred maintained the power station. So began a long career as a linesman for the State Electrical Commission of Victoria (SEC).

The family moved to Mordialloc in the early 1950’s, where Mr Kilby single-handedly built their home over many years.

It was in keeping with his values of “living within your means” and “doing it yourself”.

Mr Kilby celebrated his 100-year milestone in touch with his two children, six grandchildren and six great-children.

He received letters, cards and well wishes from the Queen, the Governor-General, Victorian Governor, Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and local MPs.

Belvedere presented him with a framed montage of photos from his times at Keysborough Bowling Club.


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