• Great grandmother, Winnie Sampie got her licence at age 75, to help her take her older sister to the doctors. (Bloodwood Tree Assoication)Source: Bloodwood Tree Assoication
A Western Australia great-grandmother hasn't let any age barrier curb her driving ambition.
Rangi Hirini

9 Sep 2019 - 2:01 PM  UPDATED 9 Sep 2019 - 2:01 PM


A Bardi/Nyiyaparli great grandmother from Port Hedland in Western Australia's Pilbara region obtained her provisional licence for the first time last week, despite many people within her community suggesting she may have left it too late.  

Winnie Sampie, 75, was determined to get her licence to help her ailing older sister get to the doctor for regular check-ups.

“I was planning on getting it for a long, long time but I know everybody thought I left it too late,” she told NITV News. 

Ms Sampie said she learned to drive "out in the bush" when she was younger but never bothered to get her licence in later years.  

Until recently, the great grandmother used to walk around town, but after her doctor diagnosed her with arthritis, Ms Sampie began to use a mobility scooter.

While the scooter maintained her independence, she said, it also reminded her that she had always wanted her full driver's licence.

A local not-for-profit organisation, Bloodwood Tree Association, assisted Ms Sampi through the Learner Permit process. 

The organisation’s driving instructor, Tanya Holman, said Ms Sampi, at age 75, was the oldest participant the program has ever had. 

“She had a Learner's permit [and] she did go to other driving schools, but it gets expensive,” Ms Holman told NITV News.

“A lot of the time, Winnie said she had to stop having lessons. There were big breaks in between. She couldn’t afford it. She’s on a pension.”

Despite having difficulties on the computer test, Ms Sampi passed her driving test on the first go.

“I’m so proud of myself for achieving that." she said. "It took me a long time but I got it.”

With her full licence in the bag, now Ms Sampi has her eye on a car and hopes her artwork – on display in the local gallery– will sell well enough so that she can get one.

Murri's on the Move helping young drivers find employment
A successful Murri driving school on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is struggling to attract secure funding.