BIRTHDAY GIRL: Rhoda Small and son Dale celebrate her 103rd birthday at the Gympie RSL.
BIRTHDAY GIRL: Rhoda Small and son Dale celebrate her 103rd birthday at the Gympie RSL. Scott Kovacevic

Gympie's 103-year-old gives her secret to longevity

EVERYONE has theories about how to live a long and happy life.

For Rhoda Small, who celebrated her 103rd birthday yesterday, the trick was simple.

"When I went to school I jumped from Grade 1 to Grade 3 - that's how I got through life, pretending I knew things,” she said.

"I haven't done too bad in life. I've always tried everything.”

Photos of Rhoda Small from throughout her life.
Photos of Rhoda Small from throughout her life. Scott Kovacevic

Joined by her 64-year-old son, Dale, a few family friends and staff from home help business KinCare, Mrs Small was treated to lunch at the Gympie RSL.

She was surrounded by photos and images of her life - including a hand-painted portrait of herself at age five.

"I didn't know then there'd be colour photos,” Mrs Small said.

Born in Hudson Bay Junction, Canada, she moved to Australia in 1963.

GYMPIE NATIONAL SENIORS. CENTENARIAN: Rhoda Small cuts her birthday cake with Gympie National Seniors president Col Wessling and his wife Dulcie. 
Photo Contributed
Rhoda Small (with Col Wessling and his wife Dulcie), celebrates turning 100 in 2015. Contributed

Her first port of call was Brisbane, then Amamoor, Tewantin and finally Beenhaam Valley to live in a house that, in their 70s, she and her husband designed themselves.

She still lives there today, with help from Dale and KinCare.

Dale said it was a job he was happy to take on.

"She took care of us ... now it's my turn,” he said.

Rhoda Small celebrates 102 with son Dale Small at the RSL in Gympie.
Rhoda and Dale Small last year, when she celebrated 102 years. Renee Albrecht

While there were flowers, balloons and birthday cakes, it was the dozen oysters Mrs Small was looking forward to the most.

Although she has not lost her sweet tooth either.

Known for adding a fair amount of sugar to her breakfast, yesterday Mrs Small put some on top of her birthday cake as well.