SISTERS CELEBRATE: Happy 103rd birthday Ethel
ETHEL Ryan is thankful she could celebrate her 103rd birthday with her two younger sisters by her side.
The three sisters celebrated the monumental birthday with friends and family in Nanango on Friday, October 25.
They have a combined age of 299 and a joint-superpower of reciting the alphabet backwards.
“It’s very lovely to be around my family,” Mrs Ryan said.
The Nanango resident has five living children (after loosing two), 16 grandchildren and a few great-grandchildren.
Son Jack Ryan said the 103rd birthday was a great achievement.
“It’s a real milestone, she’s completely switched on and bloody well in charge of us,” he said.
The youngest sister, 97-year-old Maud Hatchett, said they shared a wonderful bond.
“I’m really proud to have my two sisters here,” she said.
“Our family should be very proud that they’ve got all of their mothers around.”
Mrs Hatchett tries to visit her sister as often as she can from Hervey Bay.
“She’s been really lucky and has had very good health,” she said.
Sister Edna Cooling, 99, travelled from Toowoomba for the occasion.
“I think it’s a real milestone that she’s got this far,” she said.
A framed letter from the Queen, given now three years ago, hangs inside the little blue house Mrs Ryan still lives in by herself.
“I have a good family to help me with cooking and cleaning,” she said.
Mrs Ryan enjoys going to Senior Citizen events and morning teas at church.
Over the years she enjoyed monthly outings to the Nanango racetrack.
‘Ethel’s corner’ is etched into a plaque in her honour near her favourite spot to see the races.
The three sisters exchanged clear memories of growing up on Bilboa Station, near Bell.
“I can remember that as well as anything,” she said.
Mrs Ryan said the secret to their good health and long lives was the fresh milk they had when they were young.
After the cows were milked at the property, the girls would sneak into the safe where the milk was kept.
“We used to run down and have a mug of warm milk, it might have been good for us,” she said.
She said the occasional sips of brandy or wine she’s had over the past few decades might also be key.
As the family property was quite isolated the girls moved to the South Burnett to attend Boynesside State School in 1927, travelling by horse and carriage.
She later married and settled down in Nanango, and surviving her husband who passed away in the mid-1960s.
Her blue house holds special memories of the whole extended family celebrating Christmas at ‘Nanas’ over the years.