Hiking and music key to long life

June 2020 |

Marlies Green celebrated 100 years young recently, celebrating the milestone birthday surrounded by loved ones, residents and staff at her Tallebudgera home, St Andrews Aged Care.

Marie-Louise, who goes by Marlies, was born in the German town of Essen to Jewish parentage in 1920.

“We had the happiest early years… there was always music in the house and my family regularly visited Switzerland for the holidays,” Mrs Green said.

When the Nazis came to power in WWII, Mrs Green was just 13 years old. Her family fled to Holland where eventually she and her brother were hidden by some very good people, but sadly, her parents were transported and killed in a concentration camp.

Following the end of the Second World War, Mrs Green found herself in Edinburgh working as an au pair, which is where she met her future husband, Herbert Sydney Green, before emigrating to Australia in 1951.

“We settled in Adelaide where my husband founded the Department of Mathematical Physics, we raised our children, Roy and Johanne and I volunteered at a Quaker op shop for almost 40 years,” Mrs Green said.

Marlies then moved to the Gold Coast and St Andrews to be near her daughter Johanne in 2016.

Mrs Green’s daughter, Johanne, said it’s incredibly exciting to see her mother celebrate her 100th birthday.

“It’s a little sad we are unable to celebrate with the extended family and friends from Holland – and all over Australia – as we had planned, but we are feeling so grateful that Mum can have a wonderful celebration at St Andrews. The staff have been amazing at making that happen,” Johanne said.

“Mum always felt like she wanted to repay the help she had been given during and after WWII, and she never wanted anyone to feel isolated in a new country as she once did, so ‘adopted’ anyone who was new to Adelaide. Christmas time was always spent with friends and ‘Christmas orphans’ who were far from home and family.

“She’s been such a loving mother, grandmother and ‘second-mother’ to so many people,” Johanne added.

So, Marlies’s secret to a long life?

“Keep smiling, keep busy, keep laughing, enjoy everything in moderation… and lots of sleep! I’m very good at sleeping,” Mrs Green laughed.

“It’s also important to get active every day – I walk every day, which I picked up from my parents who took me hiking in Switzerland as a child!”

Marlies has been a resident at Lutheran Services’ St Andrews community for almost four years.