The 100 Project | Centenarians | Australia | Molly Cummings
If you can't say anything nice,
just don't say anything at all".
That was the mantra.
My real name was
Mary Edna Bullen, B-U-L-L-E-N and
then of course, when I got
married, I took my husband's name.
That was the usual
thing in my time.
I was born in the bush in a small country
town called Warracknabeal in
Victoria. There was very little
traffic and hardly anybody
owned cars. People used to
go to church by buggies.
The doctor had a car.
The publican had a car. And that
was about it. You know, people
just didn't have cars.
You had to have quite a lot
of money. Well, we didn't have
a telephone at home. My father,
he was a solicitor, he had a
telephone in the office and
if people wanted
to get in touch with my mother, they'd
ring up dad and he'd ring them back.
Telephones in your home... very few people did.
It was a luxury. If you wanted to ring you'd go to
the local post office and ring from there.
They used to have a big saucepan, you know, where
you'd put all the clothes and they'd
light a fire underneath and
boil up the clothes
with a wooden... Yes, that's it.
Yes, I was born just at the end
of the First World War and I
came of age in the beginning of
the Second. You know, 20...21. Joined up the Air Force and I
thought, oh, I'll go in a plane, I'll do this, that and the other
thing. I spent the rest of the
time interviewing people to
join the Air Force. I was stationed up at Martin
Place and that's where I spent
the entire war. When
the air raid warning went off,
we all traipsed out -
I was in the flats at the time - we
all went downstairs
to protect ourselves from the
enemy which was only a submarine
throwing a few shells into
the harbour practically. But I
there's a woman in front of me
going down the stairs and she's a
bit wobbly and I said, "Are you
alright dear?" And she said,
"Yes, love. I'm fine".
Drunk as a lord.
Well my father was a lawyer. He
was a weird... He was weird, my
father. He invested in land, and
you didn't invest in land
during a depression. But he
did. You couldn't tell my
father anything. But he was a real
every time I think of him, you
know, I'm happy because we
just... I just loved him.
That's a very difficult
I think for one thing it's better,
particularly for women
You know for men, they were
the dominant people and the women
kind of went with them.
If you look back, my
grandparents lived until they
were in their 90s and in those
days, that was very you know,
very much unusual.
Sometimes I lie in bed and I think and I
think of what I've
been doing and certain trips
I've taken and that kind of
thing, and I think "Yeah, I am lucky".
Yes, to tell them that they're living in
the best country in the world
And I do think it.
Oh...mmm? That's a question. Ah...
It'll do one of two things...
It'll survive and improve
or it'll blow itself up.
That's my feeling of the world
at this present time and I don't think it'll
blow itself up.
I think it'll stagger on somehow.
"You live in the best country in the world"
Life lessons, a good laugh and a G&T
Centenarian Molly Cummings grew up in Warracknabeal, a small Australian country town in Victoria at a time when horses outnumbered cars and telephones were rare.
Full of good-hearted humour, Molly follows the mantra, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all!”. And she has plenty of good things to say about her early life, her parents, WW2 in Sydney and her thoughts about the future.
Age in Video
Date of Birth
16th April 1918
Place of Birth