The Gurkin family is mourning the loss of Danielle Gurkin, who died last week after a car crash in Hepburn.
Her father, Andrew Gurkin, told The Courier his first-born daughter Danielle was always a handful, especially when paired outside with her sister Kell Gurkin, who was two years her junior.
"Her and her sister, who I could only describe as her partner in crime, were just a couple of little ferals running around our five-acre block in Porcupine Ridge," he laughed.
Mr Gurkin said his daughters would spend hours every day outside, remembering the litany of 'pets' Danielle would bring home, stemming from her love of animals. "They just loved the outdoors, loved the bush and all animals," he said.
"She always had a pet, whether it be a rescued wild rabbit out of the pine forest or a little cat or a dog."
Six years after the birth of Kell, the Gurkin family welcomed a third girl into the mix with the birth of Madeleine, followed three years later by the arrival of Thomas.
Madeleine said despite the age-gap between the sisters, Danielle was always a tremendous role model and beacon of support for both herself and brother Thomas.
"She was a huge influence on us," Madeleine said.
"She was one of those people that you don't really realise the profound impact they have had until you reflect on it later.
"She was never overbearing, always remaining in the background acting as a subtle influence but we always wanted to make her proud."
We always wanted to make her proud.Madeleine Palacios, sister of Danielle Gurkin
As Danielle got older, she entered the Army, a move which both Madeleine and Thomas followed.
"She was very proud of her army career, so that was something we wanted to be a part of as well," Madeleine said.
The pair of sisters had the luxury of being stationed together at the 1st Recruit Training Battalion Kapooka from 2012 until 2013.
Madeleine said while stationed together, they enjoyed joking around like any siblings would, especially since they carried the same last name and title.
"We were both Corporal Gurkin at the same time which always caused a fair bit of havoc," she laughed.
"We loved greeting each other or passing over a platoon and saying 'good morning Corporal Gurkin' to each other."
Madeleine told The Courier her sister was incredibly proud of the time she spent in the Army, with one of her proudest moments coming in 2013, when she donned her uniform and marched alongside her partner, Corporal Renae Fritzell-Flint, at the Sydney Mardi Gras.
Danielle will be laid to rest at the Verey Chapel, 43A Millar Street, Daylesford on Wednesday from 3pm.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.