“Laurie has always commented on how much she loves the care workers that deliver her services and the care she receives from them.” — Yenny , Service Coordinator at Australian Unity
When she turned 100, Laurie received a letter of congratulations from King Charles III, the Australian Governor-General, the Prime Minister and the Member for Blaxland, her local electorate in New South Wales.
As a member of the Women’s Auxiliary, she has volunteered at charity events by the RSL and Bankstown Council and, until recently, assisted with Meals on Wheels.
Laurie has been a customer with Australian Unity since 2016 and receives weekly personal care services at her home in Bankstown, funded by a level 2 Home Care Package.
On 24 April, 2023, Florence (Laurie) Rodger received a note from the newly crowned King Charles III – the first of several special pieces of correspondence to arrive that day. On achieving the major milestone of her 100th birthday, Laurie also received a letter of congratulations from the Australian Governor-General, the Prime Minister and the Member for Blaxland, her local electorate in New South Wales. She also received a congratulatory letter and plaque from the New South Wales President of the RSL and a certificate and flowers from Legacy.
Laurie’s milestone birthday and service during World War II were also by the presentation of commemorative quilts from the RSL and Aussie Hero Quilts. All of these were on display at a celebratory party attended by her family and friends.
It was a milestone that Laurie very much wanted to achieve. “I was so pleased to receive all the letters, cards and certificates from the King, Prime Minister and others,” Laurie says. “It made me very proud to receive all these well wishes.”
Laurie was born in 1923 in Banbury, an historic market town in Oxfordshire, England, where she lived with her parents and two older brothers. When her mother died in the late 1930s and her two brothers joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) at the beginning of World War II, Laurie decided to join the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force as a parachute packer. She later became an aircraft mechanic, working on a variety of aircraft including Vickers Wellington bombers and B-24 Liberators.
Posted at various airfields around England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, Laurie met her future husband, Robert (Bob) Rodger, in 1945 in Scotland, where he was stationed with the RAF.
They married on 24 May, 1946, in Bob’s hometown – Dalry, North Ayrshire – before settling further south in Maybole, where Bob started his own business as a slater. They had three children: Allison, Marion and Bobby.
In 1965, the family moved to Australia and settled in western Sydney. There, Bob worked for a roofing company, retiring in 1985 due to ill health. Meanwhile, Laurie worked in a factory that made plastic bottles and caps, and later for a vehicle spare parts company. Sadly, Bob passed away in 2003.
Since arriving in Australia, Laurie has been actively involved in many community . She supported Bob when he was a member and office holder (including Master) of his Masonic lodge. Through the RSL, she has attended meetings and events at the Bass Hill, Chester Hill and Bankstown sub-branches.
As a member of the Women’s Auxiliary, she has also volunteered at charity events by the RSL and Bankstown Council and, until recently, assisted with Meals on Wheels. While mobility is now a challenge, Laurie still participates in many Anzac events, including the Anzac Day March in Sydney, the Dawn Service and Anzac breakfast.
“I would like to stay independent for as long as I can, and to live on my own in my own home.”
- Florence (Laurie) Rodger,
customer with Australian Unity
Laurie enjoys knitting and is known for the jumpers she makes as Christmas presents for family members. She has also won awards for knitting projects entered in the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Laurie has been a customer with Australian Unity since 2016 and receives weekly personal care services at her home in Bankstown, funded by a level 2 Home Care Package. Members of her care team also visit on alternate weeks to provide assistance with light domestic duties and shopping.
In addition, Laurie has a health check-up every six to eight weeks with the Community Nursing team and has access to seasonal lawn and garden maintenance services. She also plans to use some of her funding for bathroom modifications, such as installing a handheld shower and grab rails.
Her Service Coordinator, Yenny , explains that Laurie's funding has been increased over the years and that she is currently waiting to be assessed for a level 3 Home Care Package. “She has always commented on how much she loves the care workers that deliver her services and the care she receives from them,” Yenny says.
These days, Laurie experiences some hearing difficulties, which can make phone calls a challenge. But Yenny says the care team works closely together to ensure clear lines of communication. “The care workers know to call me while they are with Laurie if she has any queries, which they can relay back to Laurie face to face,” she explains.
Surrounded by support, Laurie is happy to be living in the same house she’s called home for more than 57 years.
“By having all these services in place, Laurie is able to continue living independently, as she has at least two support staff coming into her home [each week] to check in on her and provide services,” Yenny says. “She also has support from her friends from the local RSL clubs and family who call her each day.”
As for Laurie, when asked about her goals for the coming year, she says: “I would like to stay independent for as long as I can, and to live on my own in my own home.”
Information provided in this article is of a general nature. Australian Unity accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of the opinions, advice, representations or information contained in this publication. Readers should rely on their own advice and enquiries in making decisions affecting their own health, wellbeing or interest. Interviewee names and titles were accurate at the time of writing.