At 90 Wally and Stan Phillips might just be Victoria’s oldest surviving male twins, but they very nearly didn’t make it.
When they were born in 1922 weighing a scant 2.5lb (1134g) apiece their mother was told not to bother taking them home with her.
“They said, ‘You know you won’t rear them’,” Wally reveals.
They’d said the exact same thing to her a couple of years earlier when she gave birth to her first set of twin boys, who were placed in a shoebox like a pair of sick kittens and left to die.
This time she wasn’t having it.
“She took us home, but we had trouble keeping the tucker down,” says Stan taking up the story.
“There was an old nursing matron that lived next door and she said, ‘Feed ’em on condensed milk. That’s very easily digested’.
“So we were reared on sweetened condensed milk.
”I still love the stuff. I have it in my tea instead of regular milk, but Wally can’t touch it because he’s got the sugar diabetes.”
“Don’t tempt me,” chimes Wal. “When I was in the army in the war, I used to go down to the canteen of a night and I’d get a tin of condensed milk and put a hole each side of the top with me bayonet and I’d down the whole lot.
“Still it must have done us some good. Very few twins both make old age – one usually falls by the wayside.
“And what can I tell you? Just how short life is. I don’t know where the 90 years have gone – they have just flown by.”
That’s life, condensed.