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Special Interest Speech - Ralda 'Topsy' Freiboth

Tuesday 29 June 2021, Special Interest Matter

Ralda (Topsy) Freiboth

[11.40 a.m.] Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Madam Deputy President, today I speak about a very special constituent of mine who lives in Launceston, Ralda Freiboth, who likes to go by the name of Topsy and turned 100 on 5 May.

This is an amazing achievement on its own, but what makes it even more incredible is Topsy still lives at her home in Kings Meadows, makes the 1 kilometre walk to the shops and back a few times a week and is completely independent. I went to visit Topsy a couple of days after her birthday to say hello and she made me feel so welcome and warm into her home, while we enjoyed some fruitcake I had made. I was struck by how homely Topsy's place really is, surrounding herself with photographs of her family and her collections of porcelain swans - of which she has hundreds - and seashells she and her son have collected over the years.

Topsy said she does not feel 100 and when you talk to her you can tell she is a person with a mind as sharp and alert as anyone else. She recalls she married her husband Tasman Freiboth on 31 July 1941 at the St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church in Bothwell. The Examiner even reported on the marriage with a small article at the time - a story that emphasises Topsy's connection to the state.

Her husband, Tasman, joined the police force not long after the couple were married, which took them to Avoca and then Elizabeth Town, settling in Launceston not too long after. Tasman and Topsy had one son, David, who is now 74. She enjoys the company of her two grandchildren and four great grandchildren, who she says are enormous sources of pride and comfort.

Tasman sadly died in 1978 and Topsy has remained independent ever since. She said she would not have it any other way. She tells me keeping active and positive by staying involved with her friends and family are just a couple of the reasons for her longevity. She gave up her licence at the age of 85, but does not let that be an obstacle for getting out and about, with wonderful and helpful friends and family. I was very impressed by Topsy's projects around the house. Her garden, which is in beautiful shape, and her crocheting from little dolls dresses to shawls and blankets.

Topsy's crocheting ability is second to none. She showed me some dolls dresses she had made with the finest coloured threads, which she makes with beads and a needle no bigger than an embroidery needle. I can barely read my emails without my glasses and take longer than I would like in sending a text, but Topsy at 100 is making the most intricate sewing creations, explaining to me how she threads on the beads to the small needles. I am not surprised she does not feel her age.

It is a beautiful life that Topsy has made in Tasmania and she has much about which to be proud. A wonderful family, a strong network of friends and a warmth that only comes from a rich life that has been well lived. It is people like Topsy, the constituents who exude positivity and kindness that remind me of what makes our job so special. I am very lucky to know Topsy and to represent her and the people like her in this place. I look forward to talking about Topsy again for her 101st birthday next May.


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