The world’s oldest university graduate, Dr Allan Stewart, is about to become a centenarian. The Tea Gardens resident, who attracted worldwide media attention after completing degrees at the age of 91 and then 97, will turn 100 on 7 March.
Allan told Myall Coast News that he has had a “fortunate life” and that he believes keeping his mind active has been a strong contributor to his longevity.
“It’s not necessarily just good genes; it’s not necessarily just good luck and it’s not necessarily just good medical treatment.
“It’s my attitude to a holistic approach in maintaining the health of the body and the mind,” he said.
Allan lives by a paradigm centred on four key factors – fitness of body, fitness of mind, fitness of spirit and fitness of purpose.
“Spiritual fitness is about interaction with family, friends and the community. I used to volunteer in the community, driving for meals on wheels, at the Community Technology Centre and as honorary treasurer of the golf club,” he said.
“Fitness of purpose is about setting yourself goals and targets. You’ve got to have enough self-esteem to pursue the goals.”
Born in Sydney in 1915, Allan went on to graduate from a dentistry degree with honours from the University of Sydney in the 1930s.
He was awarded an inaugural fellowship from the Australian College of Dental Surgeons to study at the prestigious Northwestern University in Chicago.
His overseas travel also included working as a dentist in England for 5 years.
“Living there was great, I was able to tour the continent with my family,” he said.
He was also selected to play first class cricket in London for an Australian side.
“That fulfilled a lot of my aspirations,” he said.
On returning to Australia he practiced dentistry in Sydney, while also purchasing land for a holiday house at Hawks Nest.
“There was no bridge access back then. We used to have to get across there in a car ferry,” he explained.
He eventually settled in the area.
Allan still lives in his Tea Gardens home and regularly attends the local bridge club as well as tending to his fruit and vegetable gardens.
He now has “28 DNA descendants” including his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
His family has arranged a special 100th birthday celebration for him on Saturday 7 March at Roseville RSL club in Sydney.
The bridge club has also organised a celebration for him to commemorate the milestone birthday.
“I’ve had such an interesting and full life,” he said.