Eileen Turns 100
Eileen Turns 100

Wise words from ‘scared stiff’ former Miss Australia queen

MISS Australia queen Eileen Thornton celebrates 100 colourful years today and says she would be 'scared stiff if she had a daughter today'.

Cheerful Eileen was the Gold Coast Miss Australia Quest co-ordinator for 11 years, making a name for herself raising millions of dollars for Spastic Centres of Australia

Previously an accountant from Toowoomba, she moved to the Glitter Strip in 1973.

The breakdown of her 34-year marriage got her focused on her career and "worked 24 hours a day" to start the annual Miss Australia Coast event.

From 1975 to 1986 she was known for impressive fundraising and dinners with city leaders, like Sir Bruce Small.

Now living at De Paul Villa Aged Care, she keeps an impressive scrapbook filled with Bulletin articles about her time with the Miss Australia Quest, along with thank you letters from contestants and city leaders.

Eileen Thornton’s special scrapbook with articles from The Gold Coast Bulletin in 1978. Photograph : Jason O'Brien
Eileen Thornton’s special scrapbook with articles from The Gold Coast Bulletin in 1978. Photograph : Jason O'Brien

The last article written about her went to print in October 1986.

She said times have changed, including her beloved Miss Australia competition.

"Today the girls win prizes for just showing off flesh and wearing a bikini, and definitely do not have proper etiquette," she laughed.

"I had 20 girls in the competition each year and their main mission was to raise money for charity.

"I would give them monthly lessons on table etiquette, how to walk on a catwalk, and elocution lessons.

"Today young people are scared of hard work, take too many drugs, and use their cutlery like weapons. I would be scared stiff if I had a daughter today."

Reflecting on the past 100 years, Eileen said she had a wonderful life filled "without any worries in the world".

Eileen Thornton has had a colourful 100 years. Photograph : Jason O'Brien
Eileen Thornton has had a colourful 100 years. Photograph : Jason O'Brien

With a glimmer in her she fondly recalls her favourite memory was the night WWII ended.

"We danced all night in the streets when the war finished in 1945," she said. "That night was one of the happiest times of my life. I drank a lot of champagne, and lost a shoe."

After walking down memory lane she had a few wise words.

"Do not be in a rush to find someone," she said.

"Wait to meet the right person, you never know where you are going to end up.

"Work hard, get ahead if you can, and always be happy not matter what happens."

Eileen Thornton says “Wait to meet the right person, you never know where you are going to end up.” Photograph : Jason O'Brien
Eileen Thornton says “Wait to meet the right person, you never know where you are going to end up.” Photograph : Jason O'Brien

Today 50 friends will join her for morning tea, along with a birthday letter from Queen Elizabeth II, and a delivery of 100 pink balloons from her niece.

Eileen said: "The champagne will be flowing."


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