Celebrating her 105th birthday

Ricky (right) enjoys birthday champagne with her son Henry (left). Picture: EMILY CHAPMAN LAING

Emily Chapman Laing

Lynbrook local Hendrika ‘Ricky’ Siwes celebrated her 105th birthday on Saturday 29 April.

The celebration took place at Park McKenzie Aged Care in Lynbrook, where she has lived since 2021.

A large group of friends and staff gathered to honour Ricky at this huge milestone.

“I think I’m quite happy with my life,” Ricky said.

“I’m still healthy, I sleep alright, I’ve never been really sick, I’m not in pain or anything.”

There was champagne, cake, sandwiches, snacks, singing and a big comfy armchair for Ricky’s throne.

Ricky’s son Henry chocks her long life up to her healthy choices and fierce spirit.

“She was a hardworking person, she worked right up until she was 65,” Henry said.

“She didn’t smoke and she didn’t really drink and she just had a good life.”

Ricky had previously had a fall and broken seven ribs.

“She was in the hospital for two days and then I never heard a complaint about it,” Henry said.

Ricky has also travelled extensively all across the globe.

“I went many times to Europe and I went to Russia and saw the sun come up and down on 21 June,” Ricky said.

With more than 17 hours of daylight, 21 June is Russia’s longest day of the year.

“Russia is very big. I saw probably more of Russia than the people in Russia because I went north, south, to west, to all.”

Ricky also visited Africa, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Portugal and sailed on the Mediterranean Sea.

“I like to see different things,” Ricky said.

The last time Ricky travelled to Holland she was 100-years-old and the flight attendants made sure to celebrate her journey.

“They reckon they had never had a lady on the plane who was 100,” Henry said.

Ricky said the staff on the plane brought her drinks and made the trip “very special”.

As a mother, Ricky is dedicated to her two sons and two daughters, of which Henry is the eldest.

“She’s very happy that she’s come out to Australia because her kids have all done well,” Henry said.

Born in 1918 in the East of Holland, Ricky emigrated to Australia in 1957 when she was 39 years old.

Ricky knew other people who had made Australia their home.

“I said who don’t we have a go and find out, if we don’t like it we will work hard and come back.”

Two of Ricky’s brothers followed her over to Australia.

“I told them if you want to come, I have work and a house for you, so they came,” she said.

Sixty-six years later Ricky is still here, but she has made many trips back home to Holland over the years.

Ricky is the eldest of nine siblings, six of whom have sadly passed away.

Ricky’s aunt lived until she was 107-years-old, a record Henry is sure Ricky will break in 2025.