Corlette resident turns 100: Lew Barnett's living a good, long life

A GOOD LIFE: Lew Barnett from Corlette turned 100 years old on August 8, 2019. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts
A GOOD LIFE: Lew Barnett from Corlette turned 100 years old on August 8, 2019. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

You only turn 100 once and to mark the milestone, Lew Barnett celebrated in a big way.

The centenarian from Corlette attended three parties thrown in his honour - spanning Sydney and Port Stephens - during his birthday week but the biggest was in Nelson Bay on Saturday with 50 of his nearest and dearest.

"He had a wonderful time catching up with his family at Nelson Bay Golf Club," Mr Barnett's daughter, Lee Barnett, said.

It was a fitting location for the biggest of the birthday bashes. When Mr Barnett retired in the late 1970s he spent a lot of his time playing golf on the Nelson Bay greens.

Always an active man, having grown up playing rugby league and becoming one of the first Manly Sea Eagles members, Mr Barnett was a keen fisherman with his wife Val, who passed in 2004, a swimmer and tennis player and later in life could often be found playing social bowls at Soldiers Point Bowling Club.

These days Mr Barnett splits his time between his home in Corlette and Sydney where his daughter, Lee, lives.

Lewen Arthur Barnett, known as Lew, was born in Kempsey on August 8, 1919. He was raised on a farm at Austral Eden, near Kempsey, until he was in his early 20s.

It was while in Gladstone, close to Austral Eden, where he met his wife, Val, who was on holiday from Sydney with her family. The pair were married December 11, 1943 and lived in Gladstone where they had two boys, Gary and Denis.

Val and Lew Barnett in their younger years. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Val and Lew Barnett in their younger years. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Mr Barnett did not enlist to fight in World War II as, at the time, he was working for Nestles, now known as Nestle, which created products for troops that were sent overseas.

Country life proved to be hard yards for the young family who moved to Sydney where Mr Barnett worked as a hairdresser. It was there that Lee was born.

Mr Barnett taught his wife and daughter how to cut hair in the style that he to this day still likes - short back and sides.

Mr Barnett was working as a hairdresser when he met a man who offered him a job with AMP in 1951. He quickly moved into management and in 1964 was offered a promotion which saw the Barnetts move to Newcastle.

Lew and Lee Barnett. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Lew and Lee Barnett. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

They quickly found, and fell in love with, Port Stephens and built a home in Corlette in the late 70's.

Ms Barnett described her father as hard working, very loving of his family, caring, stoic and fun loving.

While he has trouble remembering the details of his life now, Mr Barnett said he was very happy to have had such a long, happy life.

"I've had a pretty good life," he said.

Mr Barnett has three grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

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