Surprise birthday bash at Woolooga
GYMPIE resident Gert Pearson welcomed 2015 without a hangover or lack of sleep - she turned 100 instead.
And while Gert was not wanting "too much of a fuss", her family banded together in a loving show of defiance last Thursday.
An impressive guest list of 136 people flooded Woolooga Hall for a big surprise party.
Gert was expecting a few relatives and close friends - not the 100-plus party-goers waiting for her when she walked through the hall door.
"I knew about the party, but I wasn't expecting so many people," she said.
"My nieces arranged everything."
The birthday girl was adamant she did not want her family going to too much trouble.
"I did not want anything big," Gert said.
"I was worried about my two nieces - I thought it was too much to organise."
But Gert's family pulled off the celebration with military precision, providing all the food, entertainment and even baking a stunning birthday cake to mark the milestone.
A shocked Gert was excited to have everyone together in Woolooga - also her birth-place and home for many decades.
And with everyone catching up, the excitement, Gert said laughing, meant everyone "never shut up".
Gert married her late husband in 1942 and lived in the Woolooga district before moving to Gympie in 1963 after hanging up the gumboots on the dairy farm.
It was there she spent a lot of time with another Gympie resident who is also a member of the exclusive centenarian club - Lottie Hurford.
Lottie celebrated 105 years on New Year's Eve with her close friends and family at the Gympie RSL before backing up on New Year's Day to join the guests at Gert's party.
Gert has given up bowls but still gets her fix of sport on television, including the tennis currently being played in Australia.
"I used to have a hit and squeak many years ago, but now I just watch," she said.
Letters from the Queen and Prime Minister Tony Abbott rounded out the correspondence delivering well-wishes, but Gert insisted she did not feel all that different.
"It is just another birthday after all," Gert said.
Gympie's latest centenarian said her secret to a long life was nothing extravagant.
"Hard work - and lots of it," Gert said.
"I have never had it easy all my life, always working hard."
While at 105 Lottie said her trick was to avoid the alcohol, Gert admitted to the occasional small glass at social gatherings.
"It's part of company, isn't it?" she asked.
"Nothing too hard, of course... Sweet Lips is always nice."
The BIg 100
In 1952 when Queen Elizabeth took to the throne, only 40 Australians turned 100;
In 2013, more than 2600 Australians reached the milestone;
In Australia there are 1.37 centenarians per 10,000 people, with the highest rate in the state of South Australia (1.83) and the lowest rate of 1.15 in Queensland.