South Australian Catherina van der Linden celebrates 110th birthday


Born in 1912, Catherina van der Linden has lived through two world wars and two pandemics.

The South Australian will celebrate her 110th birthday today but she insists “nothing spectacular” will be needed for the milestone.

“I don’t need a big cake or things like that,” she said.

Mrs van der Linden said she was looking forward to a “nice dinner” with her family, which includes 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

She also looked forward to sharing afternoon tea with the staff at Southern Cross Care’s West Beach Residential Care, where she lives.

“I don’t need anything special, maybe for the staff a cup of tea in the afternoon or a drink or something if they want to,” she said.

Catherina van der Linden celebrates her birthday with some of her family.(Southern Cross Care)

Although she does prefer something a little stronger than tea herself.

“My favourite drink is champagne, I like champagne,” she said.

Born in the Netherlands, Mrs van der Linden migrated to Australia with her husband and young family in 1955.

A black and white photo of a woman sitting overlooking the water
Catherina van der Linden in the Netherlands in August 1938.(Catherina van der Linden/Southern Cross Care)

The mother of four worked as a grape picker, nursing assistant, typist and clerical assistant and inherited a love of fashion from her mother, a seamstress, and her father, a tailor.

Her milestone birthday makes her among the oldest living Australians.

She said while her longevity was unexpected, she had always kept active with daily walks.

A black and white photo of a man, woman and four children
Catherina van der Linden with her husband John and their four children in Glenelg in 1958. (Catherina van der Linden/Southern Cross Care)

“I’ve done that for a long time, especially when I lived in the Hills, I walked every day,” she said.

She still goes for a walk twice a day and enjoys the solitude. 

“I can easily walk on my own without any company,” she said.

A black and white photo of a bride and groom holding hands and smiling
Catherina and John van der Linden on their wedding day in 1940. (Catherina van der Linden/Southern Cross Care)

Southern Cross Care said the supercentenarian also hit the gym twice a week.

Independence has remained important to Mrs van der Linden, who enjoys playing card games and gardening.

“I try to do as much as I can myself, that’s in my nature,” she said.

“I don’t want to impose or bother people.”



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