Still going strong

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ARTHUR Hibbert is celebrating 103 years of life today. 

Mr Hibbert sat happily with a beer in hand at the Bendigo RSL on Sunday at his birthday party attended by family and friends.

Age is no barrier to Mr Hibbert's social life - he pays a visit to the pub with friends five times a week. 

Despite having to sift through more than 100 years of memories, his recollection of childhood is sharp. 

Mr Hibbert grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote and remembers playing marbles with friends.

His memory of moments involving naughty behaviour is particularly good.

I was a wild little fella. - Arthur Hibbert

Mr Hibbert said his mother took him to a new school one day. Within minutes of entering the classroom, he had an argument with his teacher and lost his temper. 

"I took the ink well out of the desk and threw it at her. It hit the blackboard and the ink went everywhere," Mr Hibbert said.

He then jumped out of the classroom window and beat his mother home.

"I never went back to that school," Mr Hibbert said.

Concerned about the need for her son to be disciplined, his mother enrolled him at a Catholic school.  

"She said: 'They'll teach you to behave yourself'," he said. 

"I was a wild little fella."

Mr Hibbert is known to his immediate family as "Pa".

His granddaughter Julie Mollison arranged Sunday's birthday gathering.

"I never think of him as old, even at 103," Ms Mollison said.

"It's pretty amazing, it makes me feel quite special."

Mr Hibbert's only child, Jennifer Mollison, said her father's health was good. 

"We are honoured to have him still with us," she said.

Great-granddaughter Nikita Purdy said she felt "lucky and special" to have a great-grandfather.  

Extended family were also invited to the celebration, including some who Mr Hibbert only recently found out he had.

Fred Hibbert, 90, attended the party and is Mr Hibbert's second cousin.

They discovered their connection two years ago through their fathers who were first cousins. 

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