George Coyle's 100th birthday a celebration of all that hard work | photos

TURNING 100? It’s just another birthday for George Coyle.

As long as his fridge is full — his three daughters see to that — and he gets to keep a watch on the farms of his two boys, nothing else matters.

“Birthdays haven’t made any difference to me up to date,” he said yesterday.

What’s really important is family, and that’s what his birthday celebration last night was all about.

Mr Coyle dined out last night with “most of the family, or at least those available”.

Many more family and friends will toast him at a special “do” at the Wodonga Football Club’s Martin Park on Saturday.

Mr Coyle put his “reasonably good health” down to a life of hard work on the land.

The hard work ethic started early on the family farm, “Watch Box”, in the Indigo Valley.

He was the sixth of 12 children — five boys and seven girls — and life was tough.

Their blankets were wheat sacks sewn together but they were never hungry, thanks to plenty of rabbits.

“I grew up in the Great Depression in the 1920s and ran the farm for a year when dad was sick,” he said.

“We milked a few cows, ran a few sheep,” he said. “You just took it in your stride.”

Mr Coyle moved from Barnawartha to Wodonga in 1943, when it was a “one-horse town”.

He bought some hill country to the west of town and cut and carted a lot of wood to sell.

“It’s grown much more than you would expect,” he said.

Mr Coyle has lived on his own for 11 years since his beloved wife, Blanche, died.

“I’ve got a very close family who all see that I’m afloat,” he said.

“If I need any help, I get it.

“I was from a big family myself and didn’t have much education, but I’ve got a lot of friends.

“I’m not up in the high class or that sort of thing — I’m just average, but it suits me to be that way.”

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