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Australian World War II veteran Phil Hodgson refuses to retire and spends his time building toys

Meet the Australian and World War II veteran, 102, who refuses to retire and instead spends his time working in a toy shop

  • 102-year-old WW2 veteran has refused to retire after several colourful careers
  • Phil Hodgson worked as a barber, a sales rep and served in Second World War
  • Veteran now builds and repairs tiny wooden furniture for children’s dollhouses
  • His 79-year-old son has retired while 102-year-old refuses to hang up his boots

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A 102-year-old World War II veteran who stubbornly refuses to retire has proved it’s never too late for a career change. 

Phil Hodgson worked as a barber and a salesman for most of his life and fought for Australia in World War II.

But he decided to postpone his retirement to explore his passion for woodwork, and has been making and repairing children’s toys for more than 15 years. 

The centenarian builds tiny chairs, tables, and dollhouses alongside his colleagues at the Sutherland Shire Toy Restoration Centre in Sydney‘s south.

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Phil Hodgson (pictured) worked as a barber and then a sales representative for most of his life and fought for Australia in World War Two before turning his attention to toy making

Mr Hodgson’s 79-year-old son decided to retire despite his father’s refusal to hang up his tools after several colourful careers.

His beloved wife Nancy died five years ago and he now lives alone.

‘What (would) I do otherwise? What would you do? I wouldn’t watch television,’ Mr Hodgson told A Current Affair

The 102-year-old first started work as a barber in 1934, before trying his luck as a salesman. 

When his career was interrupted by WWII, he served for several years before enjoying a brief retirement in his 60s.

Mr Hodgson expertly crafts tiny wooden beds, chairs, toilets and even coat-hangers for children looking to furnish their dollhouses

Mr Hodgson expertly crafts tiny wooden beds, chairs, toilets and even coat-hangers for children looking to furnish their dollhouses

Mr Hodgson expertly crafts tiny wooden beds, chairs, toilets and even coat-hangers for children looking to furnish their dollhouses

Mr Hodgson's 79-year-old son has decided to retire despite his father's refusal to hang up his boots after several colourful careers (pictured, the war veteran celebrates his birthday)

Mr Hodgson's 79-year-old son has decided to retire despite his father's refusal to hang up his boots after several colourful careers (pictured, the war veteran celebrates his birthday)

Mr Hodgson’s 79-year-old son has decided to retire despite his father’s refusal to hang up his boots after several colourful careers (pictured, the war veteran celebrates his birthday)

He describes his tiny furniture as a ‘bit of fun’ with boss Wendy warning the veteran isn’t allowed to retire without finding his replacement. 

Mr Hodgson expertly crafts tiny wooden beds, chairs, toilets, and even coat-hangers for children furnishing their dollhouses.  

The profits raised by the store are donated to charity and the shop is run almost exclusively by its elderly employees.

In 2021, the restoration centre donated $27,000 to its local community. 

When asked if he enjoys his life, the vibrant veteran is resolute. 

‘Oh yes I do, every day,’ Mr Hodgson said. ‘I’ve got no complaints’.  

The profits raised by the store are donated to charity with the shop run almost exclusively by the efforts of its elderly employees (pictured, some of the veteran's tiny furniture)

The profits raised by the store are donated to charity with the shop run almost exclusively by the efforts of its elderly employees (pictured, some of the veteran's tiny furniture)

The profits raised by the store are donated to charity with the shop run almost exclusively by the efforts of its elderly employees (pictured, some of the veteran’s tiny furniture)

He describes his tiny furniture as a 'bit of fun' with boss Wendy warning the veteran isn't allowed to retire without finding his replacement (pictured, camera crews at the toy shop)

He describes his tiny furniture as a 'bit of fun' with boss Wendy warning the veteran isn't allowed to retire without finding his replacement (pictured, camera crews at the toy shop)

He describes his tiny furniture as a ‘bit of fun’ with boss Wendy warning the veteran isn’t allowed to retire without finding his replacement (pictured, camera crews at the toy shop)

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