HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Buderim man Bert Davies turned 101 last Friday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Buderim man Bert Davies turned 101 last Friday. Patrick Woods

'Enjoy life': Secret to century of a marvellous life

MOVIES were silent. The average price for a loaf of bread was 10 cents. Women couldn't cast their votes.

And Bert Davies was born in the Queensland town of Gympie. It was 1918.

Not many can say they've lived to see a century of history, and even less live beyond receiving a telegram from the Queen.

Yet on June 7, Mr Davies proudly celebrated his 101st birthday surrounded by his greatest legacy: his family.

The Buderim man sat in his Lutheran Services' Immanuel Gardens home and reflected on the many lives he had fit into 101 years.

A worker at the Bank of New South Wales in 1935. A husband to the love of his life, Daphne. A star tennis player and male choir conductor. A father to three.

And as a warrant officer in the army, the World War II veteran could recall many bitter-sweet memories from his time serving: who had listed 78 years ago to the day.

"While in New Guinea, I hadn't seen my younger bother, Colin, for about four years," he said.

"I had lined up as usual for the evening meal parade. Looking across casually at the next line of men, whom should I see but my youngest brother who was in transit to a forward unit.

"We left Moresby by different transport early next day. And my brother was killed by sniper fire 48 hours later in Borneo. Treasured memories."

Yet what kept Mr Davies going was his wife, Daphne, who wrote him a letter every single day for the years he was deployed.

"It was very cheerful to know someone back home was thinking of me," he said.

The sprightly man who only stopped driving two years ago, who has read 15,000 books since 1977 and hasn't had any serious illnesses, shared his secret for a long life.

"You must get up everyday with a purpose," he said.

"My advice is to enjoy life and above all, stay active.

"Try to keep busy. And also to stay out of jail. The tucker isn't very good."

Mr Davies' daughter, Bronwyn Davies, said she had learnt the value of honesty from her father.

"I remember once I was at boarding school and I must have done something wrong. So I phoned him, and he said 'well whatever you've done, we still love you'. That always stuck with me," she said.

Mr Davies said he was lucky to have lived a century of a marvellous life.

But what's next? "I'm on my way to 102, and then 110," he said with a grin.