Peak Hill's celebrity barber Cecil Titheradge turns 100 years old

Until 12 months ago, Cecil Titheradge never missed a day behind his chair cutting hair, except for the short term interludes of World War II and family holidays to Goulburn.

His only child, son Tim Titheradge said it's made him quite the celebrity, not only in their home town of Peak Hill but further afield.

Well this local barber has once again had the attention turned to him this week when he turned 100 years old.

Cecil now lives in Goulburn with Tim, partner Natalie and his five grandchildren.

He celebrated his 100th birthday on January 29 and enjoyed a lunch-time family gathering at the Goulburn Soldiers Club on Saturday.

About 60 guests joined Cecil to mark the big occasion, with people travelling from around Australia, including Queensland, Melbourne, and of course a big cohort from Peak Hill.

Cecil has survived his eight brothers and sisters to reach this milestone.

"I think the secret to a long life is standing a lot because that's what I did as a barber," he said at his celebration.

"The party is lovely and it's amazing to be 100.

"My favourite thing about Goulburn is the Soldiers Club."

He was born in Condobolin - the fifth youngest of eight children to parents Leonard and Roseana Titheradge - moving first to Yeoval, then to Peak Hill in 1925 when he was five-years old.

Peak Hill became home, with many family members born (in Parkes), growing up and still living there today.

Cecil's father, who was fondly known as Pop Titheradge, was the local barber in Peak Hill and it was this trade, passed down to his son that lasted Cecil's lifetime.

"Between the two of them, they continually cut hair for 150 years," Tim said.

Cecil started working with his father at 14-years-old, beginning an apprenticeship and working in Lithgow for a short time.

He served in the army during World War II with the Second 13th Battalion, where he was deployed to the Middle East, New Guinea, Borneo and Finschhafen.

He would travel back to Peak Hill every six to seven weeks, on a train to Cootamundra then a bus to Peak Hill, open the shop and stay home for a week.

Son Tim Titheradge

Cecil returned to Peak Hill after the war in 1945, at 25 years old, and recommenced cutting hair, which he continued to do until he was 99 years old.

Over that time, Pop gradually retired with Cecil taking over the business full-time.

"He was cutting hair for 85 years, that's a lot of hair," Tim laughed.

He moved to Goulburn to be with Tim on the family farm about four years ago when he was no longer able to care for his wife Joyce, who passed away in 2018.

"When he moved away, he would travel back to Peak Hill every six to seven weeks, on a train to Cootamundra then a bus to Peak Hill, open the shop and stay home for a week," Tim said.

"We are on the understanding he is the longest serving barber in the Southern Hemisphere, there's also a barber in America who's been doing it for that long.

"He's quite a celebrity, he's featured on TV and in major newspapers and magazines over the last five years."

Cecil was presented Peak Hill's Lifetime Community Award during the Parkes Shire's Australia Day ceremony in 2019 for his decades of barbering.

"He's very independent, he only stopped driving nine months ago, he does his own banking and...catches a bus into town to do our shopping and mail run for us," Tim said.

"He was always very active in town (at Peak Hill) with local charities and organisations.

"In particular with Rotary, he went more than 15 years without missing a meeting and only stopped going when the club closed up.

"I will always have a soft spot for old Peak Hill, we still visit regularly."

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