Harold “Wicky’ Toma is a 102-year-old man, who has lived in the Eaglehawk area his whole life, he has seen Eaglehawk change and develop over the years. He invited us into his home to tell us his story.
Early life –
Harold was born in Eaglehawk, 1916, he grew up on Sailors Gullys road with his 4 sisters and 2 brothers, who all have lived to extraordinary ages as well, with his sister turning 100 later in the year. Harold was home birthed as well as his six other siblings and he went to school at Sailor Gully Primary school (which is now known as Eaglehawk North PS) and then went to Eaglehawk Primary to complete his years 7&8, which is where he met his future wife.
When Harold was younger, there was no cars so most people used a horse and cart There was also no television, so they had to make their own fun. Harold and his siblings would spend all day outside and then when night came they would get their sleeping bags and fall asleep under stars. Harold said that one of his biggest concerns is that kids don’t play outside anymore and there is no community like there was when he was younger. They had cows and for chores they would deliver the milk, that their mother would milk from the cows that morning.
Harold played for Eaglehawk and was lucky enough to win 3 flags. He captained and coached Eaglehawk’s 1946 premiership side and also played in the 1935 and 1941 flag winning games. He remembers taking the bus with his team down to the QEO. He played until 1947 before a back injury, which was the end of his playing days. After retirement Harold went into umpiring, which he did for 10 years and went all over Victoria for many different leagues.
Harold joined the army during World War 2 and never had to leave the country. Harold had many different jobs throughout his life; he worked in his father’s Eucalyptus Farm in Myers Flat for a few years. Eucalyptus farms were a big part of the economy in 1950-60s, and supplied hundreds of jobs. Sadly, the government went into partnership with Brazil and the farm moved overseas, which meant that hundreds of Australian jobs were lost.
When we asked, Harold, about who was the most interesting person he had met, he said his wife Thora, with the warmest smile on his face.
Harold and Thora met at school when they were 13, they bumped into each other in the school grounds and he asked her if he could walk her home after school, their love just blossomed from there. Harold and Thora got married in December 1941, after getting married; they had 5 kids who now have their own kids who also have kids! Harold still lives in the house he and Thora lived in that they moved in after the World War Two. On their 60th wedding anniversary in 2001 they received a letter form the queen. In 2011, they celebrated their 70th!
His 100th –
When Harold turned 100, he got a letter from the Queen (again), the Australian Prime Minister and the Governor General. Harold thinks he lived this long because he never smoked or drank and always exercised and has been fit his whole life, he has never eaten junk food.
Harold likes spending most mornings in the garden. Harold and his family would always eat the vegetables he has planted instead of buying them.
His family visits when they can but when they do everyone comes – all his grandchildren even his great grandchildren.
Harold regrets nothing and would not change a thing that happened in his life. He loves to listen to ‘the wireless’ and attends church and choir regularly.
Harold is a beautiful old man, with the warmest smile, we really enjoyed talking to him and hope to hear his great stories for many more years to come.