Money and happiness secrets to a long life

Mary Micallef turned 100 recently, receiving a letter from The Queen. (Joe Mastroianni) 299445_03

Dora Houpis

Financial security, work and never getting upset have been the secrets to a long life according to Burnside centenarian Mary Micallef.

She celebrated with her extended family on Saturday, September 17 ahead of her birthday on Tuesday, September 20.

“I always put into my mind that I have to work, save money for my old age,” Ms Micallef said.

“I saved enough money that I’m not a pensioner.

“I’ve got my own money.”

Ms Micallef also said she never gets upset.

“I always find a way to be happy,” she said.

“That’s what you have to do in life.”

Ms Micallef (née Pastura) was born in Malta on 20 September in 1922.

As a teenager, she married her husband Frank and had her first child at the age of 18.

Ms Micallef said the couple “lost everything” during World War II, with Malta taking heavy bombing.

Her Maltese husband served in the British Air Force with distinction and received three medals.

During his service, he met an Australian soldier from the Schembri family, who were makers of bespoke furniture.

It turned out their fathers knew each other and the Schembris sponsored Mr Micallef.

He worked in their store before becoming a senior public servant.

Ms Micallef worked in factories for 40 years.

The couple lived in North Melbourne, Pascoe Vale and Caroline Springs.

Now a widow, Ms Micallef was married for 68 years and now lives at the Burnside Retirement Village.

She has five daughters, 19 grandchildren, 48 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren, with two more on the way.