BENDIGO woman Valda Gilfillan makes history today and celebrates a landmark birthday of 100 in style at the Royal Freemasons aged care facility in Kangaroo Flat.
And while she may be a century old, the spirited Bendigonian said she feels "young at heart".
"I don't feel old, even though I'm 100," she said.
Born Valda McKenna in August 1, 1922, Ms Gilfillan has lived through the Second World War, the Great Depression, a pandemic, and was a gunner in the army.
"I've got a lot of memories," she said.
In her time she has learnt to drive a car - and before that a horse and buggy.
"When I left school, I was 16 and the war broke out and I joined the army," Ms Gilfillan said.
"I was in it for two years."
When the war finished, her boyfriend Pat Dowd came home and the couple were soon married.
"Then I had five children," she said.
Ms Gilfillan said the key to living a long, healthy life was staying active.
"I keep active," she said.
"I don't stay in bed. I get up whenever I can."
Ms Gilfillan's daughter visits her at the aged care facility, and takes her on outings twice a week.
"My daughter takes me out shopping and it keeps me young," Ms Gilfillan said.
She said good genes have helped her live long.
Ms Gilfillan's family - which includes a daughter, 14 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren - are always on hand to keep her company.
And while the enthusiastic retiree maintains a positive outlook on life, she has also faced her share of challenges.
"I've been in this nursing home for six years now," she said.
Ms Gilfillan first moved to the nursing home with her second husband George Gilfillan.
"He only lasted one day," Ms Gilfillan said.
"I said 'I'll see you in the morning'. He just didn't wake up. Not a good way to go - his heart fluttered and stopped."
Despite the hardships throughout her life, Ms Gilfillan said she lived with "no regrets".
Ms Gilfillan celebrated her birthday with a small birthday party at the aged care facility with her daughter and staff members.
She said the life advice she would give out is to "keep active and be young at heart."
"Don't take life too serious, [there's] lots of worries but they always seem to get solved," she said.
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