'Why shouldn't I live to be 100?'

Elva Julien and her extended family celebrated her 100th birthday on May 20th.
Elva Julien and her extended family celebrated her 100th birthday on May 20th. Contributed

VERY few people can claim their grandchildren have grandchildren but Elva Julien can, and she was proud to party with them on her 100th birthday last month.

The centenarian has four children, 15 grandchildren, 32 great grandchildren and four great, great grandchildren.

Many of them were able to join her for one of several parties she had to celebrate her milestone.

"It's wonderful (to be a hundred) I'm relieved that I made it," she said. "I've had a wonderful birthday week with all my family coming and going and the parties."

Ms Julien's longevity is not really a case of why, but why not?

"I have been very healthy really, some accidents, but I have been well looked after and I live in a lovely spot. Why shouldn't I live to be 100?" she said.

Ms Julien lives near Mullumbimby with her eldest son who is an organic farmer and they regularly "haunt" the local food market.

"We do live on healthy food, my family always has. We believe in home cooking," she said.

Ms Julien has never smoked and has just one alcoholic drink a day.

Raised in Bendigo, Ms Julien attended Melbourne University and worked as a teacher in Victoria until she got married. She then gave up teaching, revealing married women weren't allowed to work.

Eventually the family moved to Sydney were Ms Julien resumed teaching until she retired.

After moving to Mullumbimby eight years ago Ms Julien has remained active in the community. She is involved with the local church and charities and has been an active member of the U3A poetry group.

"I have had a wonderful life. I mean every life has its ups and downs and you have to learn to work with them. You have to work out how you deal with life, it is up to you to make it work," she said.

"Friends and family are very important, and a good work ethic.

"I gave up driving a year ago. I was rather proud of that because I gave up 80 years after I got my licence."