In 1956, Austrian-born Helmut Sinkowitsch's friend travelled to Australia for the Olympic Games in Melbourne.
He returned full of praise for the country, telling Mr Sinkowitsch it was a "fantastic" place.
That was enough to tempt Mr Sinkowitsch - an avid traveller who worked as a travel guide in Italy - to venture down under for a visit.
But what began as a visit became something more permanent for Mr Sinkowitsch, who met "a beautiful Aussie girl", Leonie, and later married her.
He has lived in Australia since 1960, and together he and his wife have had two daughters, who now live in Cairns and Melbourne and have children of their own.
Mr Sinkowitsch loves his adopted home and believes there is no "sore point" about it.
"People are friendly... Everything's beautiful," he said of Australia.
Mr Sinkowitsch lived in Melbourne for most of the time, then moved to Bendigo after selling his house in Hawthorn.
"I enjoyed Bendigo from the day I came," he said.
"Fresh air... I enjoy Bendigo very much."
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Travel has been a long-time passion of Mr Sinkowitsch, who continues to travel back to Europe every year.
He said he had been all over Australia, there was "not one end" of Asia he had not visited, and this year he went to New York.
"New people, different cuisines - I love my food," he said when asked why he had the travel bug.
"No matter where I go, I enjoy it."
He also enjoys his role as a crossing supervisor on Napier Street, a role he took up in retirement.
"What do I do at home? Nothing. I give back to the community and I'm happy here," Mr Sinkowitsch said.
His beaming grin has greeted children coming to and from school in White Hills for seven years now.
In that time, he has seen children grow from tiny prep students to confident youngsters ready to tackle high school.
"Quite a few kids were in a pram, and now they're in school," he added.
It is a role that has brought Mr Sinkowitsch joy, telling the Bendigo Advertiser that he loves children.
He said he enjoyed cheering up children who came with a "sour face", sometimes even giving them a couple of dollars to buy some food if they had not eaten before school.
But the enjoyment Mr Sinkowitsch has gained from his role has been given in turn to those who encounter him each school day.
Schoolchildren and parents alike love being greeted by the amiable man with the ready smile, and his presence will be sorely missed.
But Mr Sinkowitsch will call it a day this coming week.
He will move back to Melbourne to spend more time with his daughter and his grandchildren who live there.
With a laugh, he said that at 85 years old he thought he deserved to retire - this time for good.