‘I’ve made it’: Australia’s oldest person celebrates 111th birthday
‘Hooray I’ve made it’: Those were the first words that came to Dexter Kruger’s mind when he woke up this morning to his 111th birthday.
So excited with the rare supercentenarian milestone, Mr Kruger said he woke up at 11.45pm and waited until the clock struck midnight full of excitement, but now he is counting down the days to May 17 – the date he will be crowned Australia’s oldest man, ever.
The Roma resident, who resides at Pinaroo aged care facility in Roma started writing books at the tender age of 86 and has written more than 300 stories in 12 books, with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk even purchasing the books and placing them in the state library.
His long-time friend, Janet Rowlings presented the birthday boy with his draft copy of his autobiography that is due out later this year.
Mr Kruger celebrated the milestone, surrounded by friends, family and community members including Warrego MP Ann Leahy and Maranoa mayor Tyson Golder at a morning tea at Pinaroo.
“We are extremely privileged to know this gentleman, what he has seen in 111 years is quite incredible,” Ms Leahy said.
“And to be able to come and give you the only 111 card is a privilege and I hope you have an incredible birthday.
“This facility (Pinaroo) is an absolute treasure and Dexter you make it all the more special.”
Mr Kruger’s son, Greg Kruger said he’s very proud of his father and what he has achieved over the years.
“It makes me feel proud that he’s now the oldest person in Australia, it’s quite an achievement,”’ he said.
“Both of us pay a big thank you to Janet to the work she’s done, and behind the scenes with the writing, it’s kept him going and motivated to reminisce past happenings.
“It’s wonderful to see history and happenings recorded forever.”
Since only recently being crowned Australia’s oldest person after the passing of 111-year-old Mabel Crosby on December 30, 2020, Mr Kruger is now hoping to become Australia’s oldest man, ever.
“Whatever will be, will be,” he said.
“But when you get to 111, there’s not much chance you get to 112, not many do it but I’d like to get to May 17.
“It’s pretty hard to put into words how I feel, but it’s a privilege for mankind to get to this stage.
“I haven’t actually done anything that millions of other people have done – but I’ve lived through the years.
“I think the short answer is, I feel well, and I’m pleased to be in this position.”
A contributing factor to his longevity was his search of life meant he didn’t search for riches, but riches in knowledge
“When I was 18, I was full of ambitions and was passionately involved in the cattle grazing industry,” he said.
“My ambition as I grew older meant that when I was 18, I wanted to have enough land to muster enough cattle to keep myself and possible family in comfortable circumstances.
“I did achieve that by the time I was 50, I had a parcel of very good land, all paid for and fully stoked.
“I never inherited anything, the only thing I inherited was a good education and I’m not talking about mathematics, but living, both my mother and father were very knowledgeable people.
“My search in life was not for riches in money, but riches in knowledge … not every subject, but every subject I have touched, I have a very deep knowledge of.
“So, by 18, I could see if I kept my shoulder to the wheel, I would achieve it.”
Cr Golder said the Roma resident is an inspiration to the community of the Maranoa, Queensland and Australia.
“Dexter you blow my mind with your thoughts on life and business,” he said.
Mr Kruger received a letter from the Queen, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Governor General David Hurley, Governor of Queensland, Warrego MP Ann Leahy, Maranoa Regional Council and Maranoa MP David Littleproud.