Ethel Andrews may have been born in Yorkshire, but Whyalla is home

At the ripe age of 100 years plus a couple of days, Yorkshire migrant Ethel Andrews says she is still a Pom.

Mrs Andrews was born in Doncaster, the daughter of a railway ganger and his wife. She migrated with her husband, a future BHP worker, and their five children in 1959. She left one boy in England, but he later came out, too.

“I am still a Pom,” she said, eyes sparkling and enjoying her birthday party at Annie Lockwood Court, in Newton Street. “I was never made an Australian. This is home.”

Her sons, Robert and Alan and their wives, as well as residents of the aged home, watched as Mrs Andrews joked while waving around a knife with which to cut her giant birthday cake. 

Beside her was mayor Lyn Breuer who offered her best wishes.

Mrs Andrews celebrated her actual birthday on Saturday, but her event on Monday brightened the lives of her fellow residents in the home. She added a tiara and a sash to her attire.

“All my family is now scattered. There is only me here and I am in aged care, the best place I could be – they are wonderful to me,” she said. She attributed her long life to “hard work and a cartload of kids”.

“I was ‘home’ when I got off the boat. It was the Strathnaver. We lived in Gepps Cross then we went to Iron Baron where my husband was a motor mechanic. I worked in the office. Then we came to Whyalla and I worked at the hospital for 15 years,” she said.

Her sons led a thunderous Happy Birthday rendition before Mrs Andrews cut the cake and pondered a new day at home in Whyalla.