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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Still surprised after 90 years

Resident celebrates 90 birthday with surprise party.

July 23, 2014 3:20am

Local resident Sylvia Curtis was genuinely shocked after her family held her a surprise party on the weekend.


Local Sylvia Curtis received quite a shock when confronted by family and friends for a surprise 90 birthday party at the Kyabram Club on the weekend.

Despite insisting she did not need a party, daughters Karen and Michelle were not going to let the milestone pass without celebration and organised the party behind Sylvia’s back.

After 90 years of living in the area, including 68 years of marriage, being devoted mother of five and having a long career as a music teacher it’s easy to see why her family wanted to recognise Sylvia’s achievements.

Having grown up in Tongala, Sylvia originally studied with the London College of Music and completed her degree by 16.

However, not wanting to become a teacher straight away she instead became a receptionist before meeting husband Gordon at a football match in Tongala.

The couple moved to Kyabram and raised daughters Pamela (65), Karen (62), Michell (50) and twin boys Shane and Glen (54).

At the age of 40 Sylvia decided to try her hand at teaching and worked for the Australian Music Education Board, taking a particular role in the Aboriginal Education Department.

‘‘There were a number of aboriginal students in the town and they gave me the job of teaching them,’’ she said.

‘‘There was some incredible music talent there. I enjoyed it and I loved working with kids. It must have rubbed off as well because one of my sons is a musician and one of my daughters is quite good as well. It’s a wonderful profession.’’

Standouts during her time playing music include playing the organ for tourists on The Ghan railway, playing christmas carols at Mt Buffalo and putting her piano skills to good use during a social night at the Birdsville Pub.

Now retired from music and enjoying life in Kyabram, Sylvia said there was not a better place to live.

‘‘It’s such a great place Kyabram, it’s changed a lot but it’s still a great town,’’ she said.

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