STAWELL'S Marjorie Dyson believes it is good genes and fresh food which has enabled her to live to celebrate her 103rd birthday on Thursday.
The Eventide Homes resident still wanders the corridors chatting to staff and other residents - her memories of her life still clear in her mind.
She was born on January 28, 1918 at Ivanhoe towards the end of World War I.
Her family owned a fruit orchard in Templestowe.
Mrs Dyson attended Templestowe Primary school and studied her further education at Melbourne Girls' High School.
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Mrs Dyson's first job after finishing school after year 10 was at the Note Issue branch of the Commonwealth Bank, in Fitzroy.
For 11 years from the age of 16.5, she counted out notes and recorded the old ones.
During World War II Mrs Dyson knitted socks for servicemen and made beds at Toc H in the city on a Saturday for servicemen on leave.
It was a time of "make do". Mrs Dyson made clothing out of whatever was available, including a blouse that she made from a tablecloth.
Mrs Dyson shares many fond memories of her Grandmother and the first treadle sewing machine in the family when she was a young girl.
During the war stockings became expensive, so she painted lines down the back of her legs to mimic stocking seams.
Mrs Dyson married John Dyson on August 9, 1945.
The end of the war was announced while the couple were on their honeymoon at Lorne.
They had three children - two sons and a daughter.
Mr Dyson was fortunate to qualify to receive assistance through the Soldier Settlement Scheme so the family settled on a run down dairy farm near Loch in South Gippsland.
"The previous owners had tried to sell the farm but couldn't," Mrs Dyson said.
While the children were growing up Mrs Dyson was involved in many community activities. She was a member of the Loch Anglican Church Guild until it finally closed. She was in the Mothers' Club for Loch Primary School and rose to president.
She helped out at the school canteen for the Korumburra High School and was also a member of the Loch Catering Auxilliary.
Mrs Dyson's daughter Sue Cunningham said her mother was a queen of improvisation and creativity.
"She made us rustling, scratchy outfits out of crepe paper for the Queen Elizabeth the second Coronation celebrations in 1954," she said.
"One of my earliest memories is of suffering my Queen of Hearts outfit as I clambered on to Dad's running board of his black Chrysler car.
"Mum attended some dressmaking classes at the Loch Hall, and with her Singer sewing machine she made numerous outfits for me."
Mrs Cunningham said Mrs Dyson didn't like cooking much, but she could turn out a fabulous light sponge or a roast at harvest time.
"Mum hated the old slow combustion stove which was slow to adjust for different cooking temperatures," she said.
"Dad would get into trouble for adding the wrong type of wood which would either fire up the stove and burn the food or was too cool for the dish that Mum had in the oven.
"For many years, Mum made the Christmas pudding up until three years ago. I had to get a lesson from her on how to make it."
Mrs Dyson obtained her driver's licence at the age of 57 and this facilitated her independence.
Even though she had been a member of the CWA since 1950, she could now drive herself to district CWA events. Mum was a superb knitter.
Mrs and Mrs Dyson moved to Stawell in 2009 and remained in her own home supported by family until after her 100th birthday.
Mrs Dyson became an active member of the Stawell Uniting Church and joined the afternoon fellowship.
She continued her links with the CWA by travelling to the Ararat CWA. Mum was also a member of the Stawell Ladies Probus club and the Laurel Club.
Mrs Cunningham said she felt fortunate her mother was still part of her life.
"I've had her around all these years," she said.
"It's pretty amazing."
Mrs Dyson said both her parents lived long lives.
"I don't know why I've lived so long," she said.
"We ate lots of fresh food."
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