Australia has proved to be the land of opportunity for Horsham woman Maria Sordello, who migrated from Italy 60 years ago today.
Mrs Sordello, known as Pia, left her homeland in December 1952 before arriving by boat in Melbourne more than a month later.
She was reunited with her husband Michael Sodello, who had arrived in Melbourne two months earlier, and the pair then settled in Horsham.
"January 16 is a special day because it is the day I arrived in this country," she said.
"I cannot describe the joy in my heart to join up with my husband again.
"We had a lot of hope in our hearts to come to this country, find a bit of work and have a better life, which in Italy was very hard after the Second World War.
"I think Australia was the best thing that happened to me.
"Even though I didn't know anything about this country, I found good people and I bless the day I came here."
Mrs Sordello, 82, said she realised her dream of raising a family when her children - Robert, Paul and Suzie - were born.
"We also have seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren and I am very proud of my family," she said.
"I know my family has a good future here, which is the most important thing."
Mrs Sordello thanked the Horsham community and her niece Maria Da Ros for their support after she broke both her arms last year.
She said the Wimmera's kindness was also vital following Mr Sordello's death 17 months ago.
"Maria has really helped me and taken me everywhere, especially to the clinic and doctors during this difficult time," she said.
"On this occasion I want to thank my family, my good friends, Australia and Italy for their support.
"When you really need the help, you know how good people can be."