At the age of 74, Ita Buttrose has no plans to put up her feet.
"I don't think I will retire. I think there are still things I want to do," she said.
The media maven told an audience in Canberra last week that she had been given some very good advice by a senior female editor when she was still a young reporter – persevere until you succeed.
That advice might have been ringing in her head when she was offered the job to co-host the morning TV show Studio 10 almost three years ago when she was 71.
"I always wanted a show of my own on TV. I had always wanted to host," she told a lunch at the National Gallery.
"I'd been on lots of television shows, I had a documentary show but not a talk show. So you think, 'Oh well, it's clearly not going to happen' and go off in other directions.
"Then I got the call and I thought, 'Isn't that amazing? If you wait long enough, you can achieve goals'. I would never have thought I'd be offered this sort of gig at this point in my life and I love it."
That Buttrose is still searching for achievement – and getting up at 4.50am every weekday to get there – is just part of the answer to her continuing stature as a role model to generations of Australian women.
She was in Canberra as an ambassador for Breast Care Network Australia but her speech was pure Ita, sparkling with anecdotes from her amazing career, which next year will reach the 60-year mark.
Buttrose was just 15 when she became a copy girl for The Australian Women's Weekly, the magazine she would go on to edit.
"It's been a very long career and one I've enjoyed all the way through," she said. "I was 11 when I decided I wanted to become a journalist and I've never regretted it.
"All the good things that have happened to me, have happened through journalism. When I started work at 15, the kind of career I've had was not envisaged for women.
"My career has allowed me to travel, to witness history, to meet unforgettable people."
So here are a few gems from her speech.
THE HIGHLIGHT OF HER CAREER: "Well, I do think becoming Australian of the Year [in 2013] Iis probably the high point.
"But professionally, editor of The Women's Weekly. I mean, all the steps I took – creating Cleo – that was always my goal, to get to The Women's Weekly.
"I mean for those of you who don't remember, it was a weekly magazine. It sold on average 850,000 copies a week. It's now selling under 400,000 a month. It went into one in four homes. It had more than 3 million readers.
"It was a very well-respected magazine. It was the top job for a woman journalist and I wanted that job."
HER THREE BEST PIECES OF ADVICE: "Don't pussyfoot, Ita. in other words make a decision, if you're a leader or you're a boss, make a decision, don't pussyfoot, do it."
"A tidy house is the sign of a wasted mind."
"And some advice I received when my dear son was a teenager and used to delight in monstering me at Woolworths. I'd be going down with the trolley and he'd be at the top of the aisle going, 'Aren't you? Aren't you? Aren't you Ita Buttrose?' He could do that on every aisle. and I was telling my aunt and she said, 'Oh darling, boys should be buried at 13 and dug up at 20'. So true isn't it?"
BEING PORTRAYED IN THE PAPER GIANTS MINI-SERIES: "It was weird, really weird seeing someone up there being you, using your gestures, talking like you, walking like you.
"I was in Woolworths, again, a couple of months ago and a woman went screeching by and came back and stopped and looked at me and said, 'Are you the real one or the actress?"
ON BEING THE SUBJECT OF THE COLD CHISEL SONG ITA: "I has no idea Cold Chisel was writing a song about me.
"It always amazed me that Don Walker, who was a member of the band and wrote the words, they used to watch me presenting The Women's Weekly commercials every week. We spent massively, we were on all networks. Every week, I'd be there saying, 'And in this week's Weekly..." and rattle off all the things and then I'd say, 'The Women's Weekly, on sale now'.
"And they used to watch it and that was it. I believe, I believe because Ita told me so."
She didn't meet Chisel lead singer Jimmy Barnes until they shared a taxi in New York in 2013 on their way to a G' Day USA event. "And I remember thinking, 'Oh my God, I'm with Jimmy' and I felt like a groupie and he told me he's thinking the same thing, 'Oh my God, I'm with Ita'. The song was on the album East, it was 1980 and my two kids thought it was the best thing I ever did."
SIR FRANK PACKER'S REACTION TO AN ARTICLE IN CLEO: "He said to me, 'This article here, What Turns a Man On? Where did you get the information that kissing a man's armpits turns him on? It doesn't'. I said, 'It doesn't?' and he said, 'No, it doesn't and I know more about these things than you'."
CLEO'S FIRST CENTREFOLD JACK THOMPSON: He was hung-over for the shoot which was swiftly switched from the beach to his flat.
"He was still asleep at home and the art director and the chief photographer realised I would kill them if they didn't come back with a centrefold, because we were really on deadline, we'd had so much difficulty getting someone.
"So they went around and woke Jack up and he looks terrible and he's in not fit condition to pose on a beach. So that's why he's posed like a Titian painting of Venus because the boys were able to leave him lying on the couch and on we went.
"Jack and I are great friends now and he told me, as far as his career went, it was the best thing he ever did. Because up until then, he'd only been seen as man of action, a soldier, someone fighting. But after Cleo and the centrefold, he became a romantic lead. So we were very good for his career."
The ROYALS :"I've had lunch with the Queen twice, once at a table for just four which was really a very interesting luncheon.
"I've covered three royal weddings. I've covered Charles and Diana for Network Ten, I covered Andrew and Fergie for Network Seven and I covered for William's and Kate's for Nine. See how you can get around in the media?"
HER IDEAS ON HEALTH: "I am passionate about health and fitness. I am a firm believer in preventative health. I think we all must take responsibility for our own health. Many of the chronic diseases we suffer in Australia are caused by our lifestyle and there's not going to be enough money in the health pot to look after us all if we don't maintain our health.
"When I talk about trying to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's and other dementias, we talk about physical exercise, mentally challenging your brain, following a healthy lifestyle, what's good for the heart is good for the brain, it's true of all chronic diseases.
"I cannot stress enough the need for the brain to have physical exercise, it needs physical exercise to be a healthy brain. Just walking 30 minutes a day will be of great benefit to your brain."
THE WOMEN WHO INSPIRED HER: Women in Bangladesh she met through World Vision. "They wanted a better life for their girls. They wanted their girls to have a better opportunity than they did. They were illiterate, so their choice of jobs was very limited, so they chipped bricks, which was a very soul-destroying task. They'd get enough money to save up for a cow and they'd use half the milk for the cow and the other half they'd sell. And the money they made out of that, they'd put into a fund for their daughters' education. I found that very inspirational."
OLDER AUSTRALIANS: "What being Australian of the Year gives you is an authority and a platform, if you chose to use it, to talk about issues that you think people should be across. And in my case, it was better respect for older Australians and better employment opportunities for older Australians. And when I'm talking about older Australians, I'm talking about people over 50. There are a lot of companies in Australia who will not hire people over 50, they think they're past it. What kind of strange thinking is that?
"And also to raise awareness of Alzheimer's Australia and other dementias, because at the time, I was president of Alzheimer's Australia, I'm now their national ambassador. Our current goal is to make Australia dementia-friendly. We want dementia-friendly communities so that people with dementia still feel welcomed and valued in the communities in which they live."
DOES SHE HAVE REGRETS: "No, I don't actually. I don't see any point in thinking, 'What if? What if?' We can't change any of the steps we've taken. And all the steps I've taken have made me the woman that I am today and I'm comfortable with that woman."
WHAT'S NEXT? "I don't know what's next. All I know is that somewhere inside me there is a drum and it keeps beating. I was actually speaking to one of my nieces yesterday and she, like me, is a Capricorn. And we've got some troubles in our family at the moment that she and I are trying to sort. And she said, 'Oh, I don't know if I can handle it'. And I said, 'Yes, you can, you're a Capricorn, you know what we do, we climb mountains. We get to the top of one mountain and we look over and think, 'There's another one, let's go over there'. She said, I don't want to climb a mountain'. I said, 'You're stuck with it, just keep climbing and you'll be right'. I think that sums us up, it sums me up."
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