Magnificent milestone for Merle
IN her 100 years, Merle Vahtrik has lived through some of the most significant events in history to date - but receiving her letter from the Queen is top of the list.
Born on November 1, 1908, Merle has lived through the Great Depression and both World Wars, has seen the introduction of antibiotics, and remembers the first man on the moon.
Merle has certainly had more than her share of adventures in her life time.
Merle began her life in Mount Torrens in South Australia, but after she married in 1935, things quickly changed.
Her husband at the time, Len Smith, had a position with the Australian Purchasing Commission, which saw him work abroad.
But he refused to leave his wife behind and so, in 1939, Merle went overseas with Len - as the only woman travelling as part of the commission.
During this time she spent time in England, Washington DC and in New York.
In 1949 her husband passed away, and Merle remained a widow for more than 20 years - but love was to strike again.
At 60 years of age, Merle decided to embark on a world cruise, during which she met her second husband, Rurik Vahtrik, an Estonian widower.
They spent the next 20 years on Magnetic Island. Merle now has five grandchildren, five great grandchildren, two great, great grandchildren, with another on the way.