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Iris dances her way through 100th birthday

Iris Riethmuller
Iris Riethmuller celebrated turning 100 in style as she danced the morning away at Meilene Residential Aged Care on Sunday. Pictured: Patrick Craigie, Iris and nurse Cathy.

A life of tapping her toes may be the secret behind longevity for Iris Riethmuller, who danced her way through her 100th birthday celebrations at Meilene Residential Aged Care on Sunday.

Born in Gayndah on 19 December 1921, Iris worked hard on both dairy and citrus farms throughout her life.

Her daughter Mary Waugh recalls the dedication her mum put in to ensure there was always bread on the table.

“Mum would start milking the cows, while my dad and the boys went fruit picking and then they’d finish when they returned home,” Mary said.

“I remember mum and dad would have a big box they’d put us kids in while they were milking to keep us safe.”

Iris was one of seven children, and she is a great-great-grandmother. Mary says her mum never smoked or drank, and she was hardly ever sick or took medication.

Iris Riethmuller
Iris Riethmuller has celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends. Pictured: Iris's children Mary Waugh and Ralph Waugh, her sister June Lohse and Iris (seated).

“She definitely worked hard in her younger life, and she had a love for dancing and dance music,” Mary said.

“Every Saturday night we would go to a bush dance, and when there wasn’t a dance on we would all stay home and listen to dance music in the lounge.

“We turn on 2UE on the HMV radio. Mum really looked forward to this each week, dancing was a big thing for her.”

In her younger years, Mary said her mum would travel to Bundaberg and do some modelling and fashion parades for local stores, and if this didn’t keep her busy, she’d also spend her time playing tennis within the community.

Moving to Bundaberg later in life Iris enjoyed her time socialising with the pensioner league, or travelling the country.

“Mum has been to Tasmania, Western Australia – all around actually – she really enjoyed meeting new people,” Mary said.

“In September mum also had the privilege of cutting the centenary cake at Gayndah Hospital, where she was born, as I believe she was the oldest living person born there.”

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