HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Phyllis Machan celebrates her 103rd birthday today.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Phyllis Machan celebrates her 103rd birthday today.

Celebrating 103 years and not slowing down

PHYLLIS Machan celebrates her 103rd birthday today and over the years she has not slowed down, volunteering well into her 90s and driving into her 100s.

Ms Machan was born in the small mining town of Stannary Hills and later her father took the family to Mareeba and then Cairns.

In Stratford, Ms Machan said she met her husband, Mort, and they moved to Biloela, where Mort drove a water truck in the Callide coal fields.

"I used to drive the caravan out to the different jobs and be with my husband," she said.

"I would also give my grandkids a holiday and take two from one family one week and two from another family another week."

Ms Machan said when they moved to Bundaberg in the early 1970s she worked on a farm picking tomatoes and beans.

"I loved working outside, I had a nice garden until I had to leave my home for where I am now in the nursing home," she said.

Unfortunately Ms Machan said her husband passed away at the age of 71 in 1983.

"It was very hard but you get over these things, I focused on my love for gardening," she said.

"After he died, I decided I would start volunteering and worked with the Endeavour Foundation working at the recycled clothing shop sorting clothes.

"I worked four or five days a week for over 25 years but gave that up when I was 94."

Ms Machan said one of her highlights was receiving the Endeavour Recycled Clothing Volunteer of the Year award.

Until last year Ms Machan said she was still driving at 102 and only gave it up when she moved into the nursing home.

Her secret to staying so ­active later in life is a healthy lifestyle.

"I used to eat well, I don't think a lot of old people eat a lot of fruit and vegetables," Ms Machan said.

"I also keep active and walk every morning and afternoon, I still walk twice a day around the gardens here."

Ms Machan said she had too many highlights throughout her life to name but the big ones were her family, her yearly trips with her sister and the many fishing trips.