POISED to celebrate his 104th birthday on New Year's Day, Keith Doyne Coutts is older than sliced bread.
He's also a keen dancer, a money-savvy magnate, an engineer with a wealth of experience from the Second World War onwards and keeps in touch with his nine great-grandchildren via Facetime on his iPad.
"I think I've always been very fortunate, but I know I always worked hard," he said.
"I'd put (my longevity) down to three things - hard work, good food, and a good marriage."
Born in 1913 in regional Victoria, Mr Coutts was one of nine children brought up by virtually a single mother, as his father was constantly travelling for work.
From the tender age of six, he began work on the farm and learned to scrupulously save his wage of one shilling per week.
"The first thing I'd do was change it into 12 pennies, take threepence to go to the pictures and save the other nine," he said.
As he grew older, the former farm boy ventured into mechanics, trained as an engineer when called up for service in the Second World War and expanded his knowledge to launch an immensely successful motor vehicle franchise spanning much of Victoria throughout the 1950s and '60s.
He married, had two children, and invested in a series of units around Surfers Paradise, where he liked to holiday.
Deciding on a seachange, Mr Coutts made the move to the Gold Coast just over 35 years ago, remarried and drifted a little further north only two years ago, to where he now lives in Buderim.
The agile 103 year old said up until 12 months ago, he would swim every day, enjoyed walking everywhere and drive, and still reads stacks of books, aided only by standard reading glasses.
"I think all that strengthens you, it keeps you going," he said.
Now, on the verge of another birthday, Mr Coutts said he felt the same as he always has.
"I'm a reasonably satisfied person," he said.
"I think you need to be happy doing what you're doing.
"Whether you get paid or not, whether you have to take a lower wage or not, as long as you're doing something and that something makes you happy."
Mr Coutts' family plan to treat him to lunch in Montville on Sunday to celebrate this milestone and all his achievements.
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