Canberra World War II veteran Roy Murphy will celebrate a very happy 100th birthday next week, surviving even the bombings of Darwin in 1942, including one day when he had to dive for cover in a gully behind the city's hospital as the Japanese attacked, receiving shrapnel wounds to his leg. Six other servicemen lost their lives in the attack.
Mr Murphy, who lives in Palmerston with his granddaughter Aimee Murphy and her family, was honoured with a commemorative medal from the ACT branch of the Returned and Services League on Friday.
He spent 1555 days on active service during World War II, discharged from the army in May 1946.
RSL ACT branch president John King said it was his happy duty to acknowledge Mr Murphy's milestone birthday and the resilience of that generation of WWII veterans.
"It's a significant occasion," Mr King said. "When you look at the hardships these fellows went through, it's amazing."
Mr Murphy, who turns 100 on Wednesday, was delighted by the reception - and the huge birthday cake. His granddaughter Aimee convinced his sweet tooth is the secret to his longevity. "I'm very happy with it, more than I expected," he said.
Born in Mount Fairy, to the north-east of Bungendore, the son of farmers, Mr Murphy ended up one of a handful of day students who attended a school at the Kenmore girls' orphanage. He left school at 14, carting wood and working for the public works department.
He enlisted in the Citizen Military Forces in May 1941, was seconded to the 11th Anti-Tank Regiment and arrived in Darwin barely a fortnight before the first Japanese air raid on the city. He witnessed numerous hostile actions by the Japanese on the Darwin area. "It was an experience. Wouldn't want to go through it again," he said.
Mr Murphy and his wife Lurleen, who passed away in 2015, were married for 67 years.
They had two children, Brent and Joanne. There are six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He shares his birthday with great-granddaughter Chloe, who turns 11 on Wednesday.
He spends his days sitting in the sun, looking out the window to the garden. His secret to getting to 100 is simple.
"I worked very hard on the farm all my life. Didn't mix with any drinkers or anything like that. I never thought I'd get to 100," he said.