Osborne Carnival matriarch Greta Osborne celebrates 90th birthday and carnival anniversary in Nelson Bay

FESTIVE: Greta Osborne celebrating her upcoming 90th birthday at the Nelson Bay carnival's laughing clown booth.
FESTIVE: Greta Osborne celebrating her upcoming 90th birthday at the Nelson Bay carnival's laughing clown booth.

For nearly seven decades Greta Osborne from the famous Osborne Carnival has been handing out soft toy prizes to the thousands of young children at the laughing clown stall.

This month the family matriarch - who has two sons, eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren - has an extra reason to celebrate. She turns 90.

"I married into the Osborne family at a young age [her husband John passed away 10 years ago] and learned the carnival life," she said from the Neil Carroll Park site in Nelson Bay where the carnival is set up and currently celebrating 69 years.

"I just love it. I learned to drive trucks, change tyres and travel from town to town living out of a caravan, which has never bothered me.

"I have always enjoyed working at the clown section, watching the kids faces light up when they win prizes and making conversation with the adults."

Ms Osborne was born in Wagga Wagga and when not travelling these days she calls Stockton home.

"I enjoy the beach and watching the boats go past," she said. "John and I fell in love with the Port Stephens area and we have been regular visitors to Nelson Bay. It is fitting that I can celebrate my 90th birthday with my family and many show friends at this year's Nelson Bay carnival. It's a wonderful area."

Ms Osborne says that while she doesn't normally drink she will take time to enjoy a glass of champagne to celebrate her birthday. And while she remains active by working out in various sections, son Lew Osborne takes care of operations.

"We always love coming to Nelson Bay at Christmas time and mum has a special affinity with Port Stephens," he said.

"She has been a bit of a Jill-of-all-trades over the years, looking after the family and enjoying life to the fullest. Celebrating a 90th birthday is a special milestone."

Greta Osborne with family and show friends at the 90th birthday celebrations held at Nelson Bay this week.

Greta Osborne with family and show friends at the 90th birthday celebrations held at Nelson Bay this week.

Mr Osborne said that things had changed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but "we have ensured that we have all the health protocols in place to ensure the public's safety".

"In fact, I have been the company's COVID marshal since June, so we are well rehearsed in what is required to keep people safe."

The family company has been supplying rides, games and attractions to the amusement industry for decades and the Osborne family has had six generations working within the Australian amusement business.

In addition to the many carnivals they operate across the country, they also continue to provide entertainment for shows, festivals, fetes and corporate functions or any special event. 'You have the event, we have the latest rides and games for you' is the company motto.

The Neil Carroll Park, Nelson Bay, carnival is open 6.30pm each night until Saturday, January 16.