A footy-loving senior and long-time Monto resident, Daphne received a special gift from her favourite rugby league player, Johnathan Thurston, for her milestone birthday this week.
A footy-loving senior and long-time Monto resident, Daphne received a special gift from her favourite rugby league player, Johnathan Thurston, for her milestone birthday this week.

100th celebration: Queen's letter is nice, JT shirt is great

RECEIVING a message from the Queen on your 100th birthday is special.

But Daphne Russell reckons getting a gift from the prince of rugby league is just as great.

A footy-loving senior who lived in Monto for 60 years before recently moving to Carinity Clifford House aged care in Brisbane, Daphne celebrated her milestone birthday this week.

Around 170 guests from around Australia and New Zealand attended her 100th birthday party.

One of Daphne's birthday presents was a North Queensland Cowboys jersey signed by her favourite rugby league player, Queensland Maroons and Australian Kangaroos legend Johnathan Thurston.

"When I saw it, I was absolutely rapt. I thought it was lovely of him to do that," Daphne says.

NRL Nth Qld Cowboys v Melbourne Storm at 1300Smiles Stadium in Townsville. Johnathan Thurston.
NRL Nth Qld Cowboys v Melbourne Storm at 1300Smiles Stadium in Townsville. Johnathan Thurston. Scott Radford-Chisholm

Daphne was born in Mackay on 22 July 1918, the youngest of nine siblings - five sisters and four brothers. She spent most of her life in Monto and Rockhampton.

"I spent most of my life in the country, where my dad was building railway lines," Daphne says.

Daphne worked as a sales assistant and dressmaker and loved playing golf and lawn bowls in Monto.

"I liked the bowls better because the golf wore me out. With the bowls you roll three bowls and then you can sit down. I won a few trophies, but I never won a championship. I enjoyed it. It was a good game and it was good company," Daphne says.

The sports fan loves cheering for the North Queensland Cowboys and watching State of Origin rugby league, golf and AFL on television.

Amongst her other hobbies are reading the newspaper, crocheting, listening to music on the radio and singing.

Daphne has two daughters, one son, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.