History becomes her

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Let’s celebrate: Jo Cooper enjoyed her birthday party on the Labour Day weekend. Picture: Supplied

JO Cooper is a woman with a firm grasp on history.

The Peninsula Grange resident who celebrated her 102nd birthday on Saturday 9 March with family and friends, lays claim to being born in Sorrento as the great-great-granddaughter of the first white baby born in the area, Jane Watts, in 1803.

Daughter Joyce Curry, who says “it’s an education listening to her stories”, confirmed her mum’s great-grandparents owned Watts Cottage next to the Nepean Historical Society building at the back beach end of Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento. 

Ms Cooper can recall delivering milk and butter to her great-grandmother after school and growing up in a limestone and birch house in Hiskens Street, Sorrento, with a wood oven. Her father had a blacksmith’s shop at the back of the property.

Ms Cooper moved into Peninsula Grange in Booker Avenue, Mornington, from her own home when she was 99. She enjoys painting, music and other activities.

She has lived at Sorrento, St Kilda East and Mt Eliza, and worked in a women’s hostel during WWII.

Longevity runs in the family as Ms Cooper says she can remember her mother’s 101st birthday.

First published in the Mornington News – 26 March 2019

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