TURNING 103 doesn't happen everyday.
Dimboola's Myra Gazelle celebrated that impressive milestone on Friday with party with her family and friends at Allambi Hostel Home for the Aged.
Myra was born in Linton, near Ballarat, on October 11, 1916. She was one of nine children and grew up on a farm.
She moved to Dimboola when she was 16 to take up a job at the town's doctor's office.
It was a job that had been made vacant by her sister who resigned after getting married.
Myra said she didn't like the Dimboola when she first moved, but grew to love it over the years.
At the age of 19 she met local motor mechanic Ern Gazelle.
They married in 1935. The couple had three children - Lynette, Geoff and Evan.
Ern joined the Australian Army in 1939. He fought in World War Two and was away from home for six years, stationed primarily in Asia.
Myra was left at home with three children under the age of four. She and the children moved away to Ballarat during the war years to be closer to Myra's relatives.
Myra's son Geoff said his mother was strong and resilient, especially during the war years.
"We didn't have any money and it was a difficult time," Geoff said.
The family moved back to Dimboola in 1946 when Ern returned home from the war. Ern later started the Dimboola Holden dealership.
Myra said playing tennis, golf and bowls had been some of her favourite pastimes.
"That was a long time ago now though. I was a fairly good golfer though," she said.
She moved into an independent living unit at Allambi about five years ago. After breaking her hip in a fall, Myra moved into the nursing home section just before she turned 100.
Myra said she didn't have any secrets to her long life.
"Someone must have kicked me and sent me backwards," she said.
Long life might just be in Myra's genes though. Her mother lived until 99, while her cousin Jim Stapleton, of Echuca, recently celebrated his 106th birthday.
Allambi activities co-ordinator Charlene Kalms said Myra was an ideal resident.
"I've known Myra the whole time she's been here, as has my daughter Kayla," she said.
"Myra has a real love for Kayla and her son Xavier when they come into visit. She just fell in love with Xavier and has a photo of him in her room.
"She also loves it when we have the playgroup come; she just really loves kids."
Myra has eight grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. Her family lives across the country, including Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland.
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