TODAY Alice Harrold will celebrate her 100th birthday surrounded by her loving family.

But her life was almost over before it really began.

When she was three, she fell ill with diphtheria which can cause serious breathing problems.

Alice had a lengthy stay in hospital and an incision was made in her throat to assist her breathing.

"It nearly killed her," Alice's daughter Narelle said.

Alice Harrold on her wedding day.
Alice Harrold on her wedding day. Contributed

Born in Wondai, Alice started school there after she recovered from her illness.

One of four daughters, she lived on a dairy farm with her parents, Winifred and Edward Humphrey.

The family eventually moved to another dairy farm in Greenmount.

When asked when she started work, Alice joked: "At five years old on the farm".

But her paid employment started at 14 when she worked at a boarding school before starting work at the home of a prominent family in Toowoomba.

At church, she met a handsome man who sang in the choir.

Arnold Harrold, better known as Jim, took a liking to Alice - and his brother became romantically involved with one of her sisters.

When asked what first attracted her to Jim, Alice didn't beat around the bush.

"Just his good looks," she said with a smile.

The two were married at Newtown Methodist Church in July, 1941.

Their first child, a son named Robin, was born the next year and five more children were to follow.

The family moved to a dairy farm on Spring St in Toowoomba where they would spend many happy years.

Graham, the youngest of the family, said he was just a baby when they moved to the farm.

At first the milk was sent to the local factory and then later, when the farm began its own deliveries, the six children would help deliver the milk to the surrounding areas.

A portrait of Alice Harrold.
A portrait of Alice Harrold. Contributed


"It was hard work but it was fun," Narelle said.

"Kids today don't have what we had."

The couple eventually sold the farm as their children grew up and decided that it was time to enjoy a life of adventure together.

The couple bought a caravan and hit the road, travelling around Australia six times.

Their children joined them on their travels, with Narelle even meeting her husband, Leo, while on the road in Victoria with her parents.

Seeing most of Australia in her travels confirmed Alice's love of the country.

"It's the best place in the world," she said.

Sadly Jim died 12 years ago and two of their children have also passed.

About six years ago, Alice made the decision to move to the Bay, where three of her children live and where the family had spent many happy holidays over the past 60 years.

Alice was looking forward to her milestone birthday.

"I'm very happy to be (turning 100)," she said yesterday.

When asked what the secret to a long life was, Alice didn't hesitate.

"Hard work," she said.

She's also lived a healthy life, never drinking or smoking.

"Whenever she could she grew her own vegetables," Narelle said.
 



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