Never a puff and only one love for Thomas Holt Sans Souci Gardens resident Henry 'Harry' Mardon

Family joy: Henry 'Harry' Mardon with his great grandchildren Tahlia and Lachlan, 5, and Aydin, seven months. Picture: John Veage
Family joy: Henry 'Harry' Mardon with his great grandchildren Tahlia and Lachlan, 5, and Aydin, seven months. Picture: John Veage

The past century has been filled with many memories for Henry Mardon, some wonderful, others sad, but all of them etched in history, which continues its strong hold well into his 100th year.

Mr Mardon, also known affectionately as Harry, smashed triple figures on September 4.

The resident from Thomas Holt Sans Souci Gardens was born in 1919 in a family terrace at Rozelle. Harry can date his family history back to 1850 when his great-grandfather arrived in Sydney and settled at Harrington Street, The Rocks, and worked as a police officer.

Growing up, Harry has fond memories of running through the streets of Rozelle and Balmain, and can clearly recall watching the Harbour Bridge getting built. Like most people in Sydney, he attended the opening day of the Harbour Bridge with his father in 1932 at age 12, and as fate would have his, his future wife Norma was there in the crowd as a five year-old child.

Harry is described by his family as "a survivor." Sadly, he became an orphan by the age of 12 and was raised by his grandmother.

He grew up during the Depression era and has seen so many changes in the past century. When he first started working at the CSR sugar company in Pyrmont in 1935 he recalls all the deliveries were made by horse and cart. Harry embraces change and loves modern technology, playing his CDs and DVDs.

By age 20, he joined the army and served in World War II in Western Australia and Papua New Guinea, where he was soon promoted to a corporal for his work with the natives. He loves to reminisce on the war years and has many remarkable stories while he was serving in New Guinea, such as making friends with the locals.

Happy Harry: The centenarian. Picture: John Veage

Happy Harry: The centenarian. Picture: John Veage

Like many soldiers, Harry had acquired a pen pal through a mutual friend while he was in New Guinea (a young lady named Norma). Norma had requested that Harry "please send a photo", which he did, and so they continued writing to each other for a couple of years. When Harry returned home from the war they were engaged within a week and married eight months later in 1946.

Together they bought a block of land at Kingsgrove in 1947 where they built their family home and raised their four children, Jan, John, Maureen and Susan.

They had a wonderful marriage of 66 years, sharing a love of music and both playing the piano. After 35 years of living at Kingsgrove they retired and moved to the central coast. Sadly, Norma died in 2012. Harry continued to live independently in the family home and it was only last year that he relocated to a nursing home.

Harry enjoys spending his days listening to his music and socialising with family. He is always going out and about with his family to the Ramsgate RSL and on shopping trips to Southgate and Miranda.

He has 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren including two babies, Aydin and Sienna, both born this year.

He celebrated his birthday with a family lunch at Ramsgate RSL and a weekend away in the Blue Mountains - a special place in his heart as it was the same place where he spent his honeymoon with his late wife, Norma.

He has never smoked and says he has only ever had "one love" - his wife. "Without my family, I wouldn't be here," he said.

His daughter Jan Clifford says her father is "like a living encyclopedia".

"When's he out, he tells everyone he's 100. Everyone that he meets cannot believe he is 100 years old and they always ask him what his secret is," she said.

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