Olive Riley, a remarkable 107-year-old great-great-grandmother living in an aged care hostel at Woy Woy, 50 miles (80km) north of Sydney, has won instant fame as the oldest of the world's 68.9 million Internet bloggers. She is 12 years older than Spain's Señora Maria Amélia, the previous titleholder.
"This might be the new star of the internet," Jean-François Berthet, who lives in Paris, wrote in his blog 365 Days. "Her name is Olive, she is Australian and she has a blog where with the help of Mike, she tells us of her adventures.
"With 2 posts, her blog is only 4 days old and already hitting the headlines. What’s so special about this blog? Nothing. Except that Olive Riley was born two centuries ago, on October, 20th, 1899. By the time of Queen Victoria.
"Olive is 107. She swims. She drinks Shandy (beer and lemonade). She has to wear a bell at night so her great grand children know when she wakes up and keep her from falling, but she puts a sock in the bell not to wake anyone. And Olive has a date with an Olive tree in 2010.
"Isn’t life wonderful? Thank you Olive."
Olive, who has amazingly clear memories of her colorful life, posts her blog with the help of her friend Mike Rubbo, who made an hour-long documentary film "All about Olive" that the ABC-TV showed throughout Australia in February 2006.
Olive's first post, called The Life of Riley attracted a flood of congratulatory messages from all over the world. The first comments were:
A few hours after Olive launched her blog, fellow blogger Alfredo Ascanio Lugar, in Caracas, Venezuela, liked it so much that he translated it into Spanish:
Olive was born in Broken Hill in 1899, when Sydney was the capital of the British colony of New South Wales, ruled from London by an aged Queen Victoria. Australia did not exist as a nation until January 1, 1901, when the separate colonies united to form a Federation.
Physically frail but mentally alert, Olive says she was twice married, raised her three children on her own, survived two world wars and the Great Depression of the 1930s, and has worked as a barmaid and accountant.
First news of Olive's blog was published by OhmyNewsInternational, a citizen reporters' newszine published in Seoul, South Korea. The story, headed "107-year-old is world's oldest blogger," is on the Internet.
A grove of olive trees has been planted near the railway station at Broken Hill. Their first crop is expected to be ready in 2010. Judging by Olive Riley's amazing zest for life, it seems likely that she will return to her birthplace to pick some of those first fruit. LONG LIVE OLIVE RILEY!