Not many people can say they were born in a hospital built by their own grandfather.
But Mary Magdalen Sillis (nee McRae) can. Magdalen, as she is known, was born at Beauly Maternity Hospital in Merriwa NSW on 29 May 1922. The hospital was built by her grandfather for his daughter, who was a midwife.
Magdalen celebrated her 100th birthday this week, surrounded by family members, friends and some very special guests.
Magdalen has 13 children, 32 grandchildren, 39 great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren. The Sillis family grew up in the Bungendore and Queanbeyan regions and have contributed to the success of many local businesses and sporting teams.
Magdalen received many birthday wishes to celebrate her milestone birthday, including a Papal blessing, a letter from the Queen, a letter from former PM Scott Morrison, and letters from the Governor General, the NSW Premier, the NSW Governor, the local federal member, and the local state member. NSW Police presented Magdalen with an honorary police badge.
But perhaps the biggest highlight of the party was a visit by one very famous mascot: Victor the Viking.
“Magdalen is a true Raiders fan,” Victor the Viking aka Tony Wood says.
“Her family told me she sits in front of the telly, watching her beloved Raiders, yelling, ‘poor Ricky’ and sitting on the edge of the seat.
“Sounds like every fan I know.”
Victor says he would love more than anything to take Magdalen to GIO Stadium to lead the Viking Clap.
“I made a promise to Magdalen today that in 12 months time, I will try to take her out on the field at GIO Stadium,” he says.
“I’d like her to lead the Viking Clap at 101 years old. The oldest lady to ever do it. I will work overtime to get it done.”
Other notable attendees at Magdalen’s birthday bash included local police chief Peter Mortimer, Father Mark Croker, Bishop Pat Power, QPRC Mayor Kenrick Winchester, and many family and friends.
Daughter Jen Amey (nee Sillis) says her mum “has led a good life.”
“She knows she’s very lucky to have lived this long,” Jen says.