Edition 6 - Summer 2008
Government of Western Australia
Department of Housing and Works
You can’t keep a good
“I’ve been a jack of all
trades my whole life,”
95 year old Mandurah
DHW tenant Millen
Lee told ’Beyond the
And what a life it’s
Born in Toodjay the
year before the First
World War broke out,
Millen, or ‘Mick’ as he’s
known to family and
friends, is still enjoying his long and colourful innings.
“I was working in the local butcher shop part time at the
age of 11,” he said. “I wanted to be a butcher but someone
else got the apprenticeship, so at 14 I left school and
started serving my time to become a carpenter instead.”
After about 10 years working as a tradesman and as a
timberman in gold mines, Mick joined the army in 1942
but missed out on being posted to Singapore due to a
badly smashed ankle.
“I worked in the carpentry shop for four years, then when
I got out went back into building. I would’ve built more
than 500 homes over the years.”
Still active and living on his own after his wife passed
away several years ago, Mick attributes his longevity to
“I gave up smoking during the war, I never drank and I
always kept active.
“Before the war I was a bike racer. I was working at the
Yamumi gold mine, about 80 km’s from Mt Magnet at the
time. Every afternoon when I finished my shift I’d do a 36
mile training ride.
“I competed three times in the 200K
Beverley to Perth road race. In my best finish in 1939 I lost
by only nine inches – I’d started my sprint just a bit too
After working hard all his life, raising three kids, seven
grandchildren and an indeterminate number of great
grandchildren, Mick would appear to have paced himself
perfectly, and seems happy with his life.
“I’ve built lots of homes, owned homes and acreage
where I farmed beef cattle until I was 81, but I’ve been
happy in my Homeswest unit for the last nine years.
“I reckon it’s about due for a paint job,