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A birthday milestone for Dianella resident Betty

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The North Central Review
The North Central Review
The North Central Review is an independently owned newspaper publishing company based in Kilmore that is responsible for publishing two community newspapers each week, covering communities within the Mitchell Shire

Birthday celebrations last week at Dianella Village gave resident Elizabeth (Betty) Sooraghan the opportunity to reminisce about her life with friends and caregivers.

Ms Sooraghan celebrated her 104th birthday and the day was unsurprisingly quite an event.

Born in Essendon in 1920, Ms Sooraghan’s birthday last week gave her a chance to reflect on her former years.

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“Mum and dad were a happy couple and this had a big influence on family life. What more can you want?” she said.

Raised on a cattle farm, Ms Sooraghan recalled owning every animal imaginable.
“All the animals that go with a farm,” she said.

Ms Sooraghan fondly remembers her twin sister Bidella.

“We were Betty and Biddy. Mum dressed us in the same clothes. She did all the knitting,” she said.

Ms Sooraghan went to Beveridge Primary School and her childhood hobbies included playing hopscotch, skipping, and card games. Both Ms Sooraghan and her sister rode their horse to school – ‘bareback of course’ and with no reins.

“We’d double-dink. We had a retirement horse and we just tapped him. We’d open the gate, slide off, and he’d wait in the paddock.”

Ms Sooraghan’s first form of employment was to keep the house clean and tidy, and in return earn pocket money to go to dances where her sister played the piano.

“We had lots of good neighbours. We were a close family and mum could play all the instruments.”

It was at a local dance where Ms Sooraghan met her sweetheart Matthew, who like her father, was also a farmer. They married at the Beveridge Church, which is still standing, and they honeymooned in country Victoria.

Together the Sooraghans raised their two children Anna and Patrick in Beveridge, before moving to nearby Bylands. Ms Sooraghan joined in on local tennis games, dances, and continued to ride her beloved horses – but this time with a saddle. Ms Sooraghan has three grandchildren and over seven great grandchildren.

She moved into Diannella Village some years ago and says she is well looked after. Ms Sooraghan keeps good company with friends and caregivers, one of whom she has known for 53 years since she was a child.

“I’m happy to be here. I’m well looked after,” she said.

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