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Benalla resident celebrates 100th birthday

Friends and family gathered in Benalla last week to celebrate Jean Bartlett's 100th birthday.

MONIQUE FREER June 20, 2014 3:27am

Jean Bartlett at her 100th birthday with children Max and Lorna.


Centenarian Jean Bartlett says the secret to living a long and happy life is having fun.

Mrs Bartlett celebrated her 100th birthday at Cooinda Village on Friday, surrounded by family and friends.

The 100-year-old said good living was the key to a long life, however her daughter Lorna Whitten said her wicked sense of humour also played a significant role.

‘‘She’s got the most fantastic sense of humour, she is so extreme sometimes that people don’t understand, but it’s funny,’’ Ms Whitten said.

‘‘She was a bit of a devil, playing tricks on many people, especially school teachers.

‘‘She doesn’t drink, she doesn’t smoke and she doesn’t swear in public.

‘‘All our family are long livers, and a lot of luck comes into it.’’

Mrs Bartlett was born in St Kilda, which fuelled a life-long passion for that city’s football club.

She is a passionate sports fan, and as the middle child of three girls she joked that she was the son her father never had.

Together they used to go to many sports games, particularly tennis and cricket.

‘‘I used to play tennis and I was in the school baseball team,’’ she said.

While she could not decide her favourite sport, there was no question when it came to the best St Kilda player she had seen play in 100 years.

‘‘Nick,’’ she said.

‘‘Nick Riewoldt.’’

However, she later admitted she thought Robert Harvey and Trevor Bartlett were also outstanding players.

In 1981 Mrs Bartlett and her husband (who has since died) settled in Benalla after a life of travel.

‘‘Every two years they moved,’’ Ms Whitten said.

‘‘I was in Benalla, so they decided to come here.’’

Mrs Bartlett moved into Cooinda Village eight years ago and has made many friends in her time there.

‘‘The staff are very good to me, and everyone’s kind and treats me well,’’ she said.

Mrs Bartlett has two children, Lorna and Max, five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

She worked at Paramount Pictures and was a volunteer driver for Red Cross, however she said her greatest achievements were getting married and having a family.

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