'I can't shake off that bad cough': world's oldest blogger logs off

Some older people have an aversion to the internet and its myriad forms of communication. Not Olive Riley, who began blogging last year at the age of 107 and posted more than 70 entries before dying in an Australian nursing home last weekend.

Born in 1899 in the outback mining town of Broken Hill, Mrs Riley took up blogging at the suggestion of a friend, jokingly calling it her "blob". A great-great-grandmother, she acquired an international following, with thousands of people responding to her tales of bringing up three children on her own and surviving two world wars and the Depression.

Mrs Riley, who had spells working as a barmaid in Sydney and a cook on a Queensland cattle station, kept her blog going until two weeks before she died. In her final entry on 26 June, she confided: "I still feel weak, and can't shake off that bad cough."

Her friend Mike Rubbo yesterday recalled putting the blog idea to Mrs Riley. "First of all, I had to explain to her what a blog was, and that took some doing," he said. "Then I got across the idea it was a sort of diary she would share with the world. The reason for its popularity is that she was such a stand-out talent – just so touching and funny, and such a great story-teller."

Mrs Riley, who liked a shandy and was a keen follower of the Sydney Swans, an Australian rules football team, also posted clips of herself talking and singing on YouTube. Her great-grandson, Darren Stone, said: "She enjoyed the fame – it kept her mind fresh. She had people communicating with her from as far away as Russia and America. What kept her going was the memories she had."

Scores of people from around the world posted tributes and condolences on Mrs Riley's site yesterday. With her death, the title of world's oldest blogger passes, it is believed, to 96-year-old Maria Amelia Lopez, a Spaniard.

When Mrs Riley was born, Queen Victoria was still on the throne, and Australia was not yet a nation, just a collection of British colonies. She would have turned 109 this October, but was still singing "a happy song" every day with nursing staff just before she died.

Mrs Riley was the youngest of 12 children. She left Broken Hill in the 1920s, a single mother with three children, and was present at the opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932. She spent her final days in Woy Woy, north of Sydney. One of her friends, Eric Shackle, said: "She had a wonderful memory and an amazing zest for life. Just two weeks ago, she recalled the words of a song that was popular before the Second World War and sang the chorus with me."

A typical Riley post

"You 21st-century people live adifferent life than the one I lived as a youngster in the early 1900s. Take washing day, for instance. These days you just toss your dirty clothes into a washing machine, press a fewswitches, and it's done. I remember scratching around to find wood to fire the copper for Mum."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Investigo: Group Financial Controller

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Investigo: A growing group of top end restaurants l...

Ashdown Group: HR Generalist - 2 week contract - £200pd - Immediate start

£200 per day: Ashdown Group: Working within a business that has a high number ...

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Recruitment Genius: Business / Operations Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well-established and growi...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible