Doris Parry is a country girl, growing up the oldest of nine in Bridgewater on the Loddon River. As a young woman she moved to Melbourne for work at the National Bank on Collins Street. The bank took her to St James – near Yarrawonga – where she met Kel, her husband-to-be. He was a musician and farmer. They married, and Doris moved to the farm in Powlett Plains that Kel’s great-great-grandfather had selected.

Farming life suited Doris. She tended the sheep and harvested crops. Once a fortnight Doris would single-handedly load up a ute of pigs and haul them to the market in Ballarat.

They lived in Powlett Plains for more than 50 years and had two children. It was a good life, but of course there were ups and downs. They lost their home to fire, but they were resilient. Thinking about it, this was just a little hiccup along the way because no one got hurt.

They never had much money but Powlett Plains offered a lot. Meetings or send offs or kitchen teas or something, Doris remembers. Kel played the saxophone and they hosted jazz days at the farm every November for 20 years. They went to jazz festivals and made lots of good friends.

Doris and Kel retired to Inglewood, a goldrush town in the Loddon Shire, and their son Leigh took over the family farm. Kel died in 2012 and Doris is now very involved locally with craft projects, walking groups, bus trips, exercising and movie days. I still have a lot to do, she says. There’s always something to go to in Inglewood. You couldn’t go to everything. It’s one of those towns.

These stories celebrate the contributions and diversity of people who are part of the Victorian Seniors Festival.