Marinus Versluis celebrates 103rd birthday at Whiddon Group Laurieton

Four generations: Peter, Marinus, Dan and baby Lachlan Versluis.
Four generations: Peter, Marinus, Dan and baby Lachlan Versluis.

Marinus Versluis is a resilient man who has lived through two world wars to reach the extraordinary age of 103-years-old. 

A celebration was at Whiddon Group Laurieton on Wednesday, August 8 and Marinus’ friends and family attended. 

A lot of people ask Marinus what the secret to a long life is. 

During his 20s Marinus stopped drinking and smoking.

He was brought up to work hard on the land and always grew vegetables for his family to eat. 

Marinus has a strong belief that people should be content with what they have in life. 

During WWI Marinus was born in a small village in Holland. 

He left school when he was 11-years-old to work with his father on the farm. 

“We were a poor family of 11 children and my parents needed me to go to work to help provide for the rest of the family,” he said. 

Marinus and his wife Wilma migrated to Australia with their four children in 1952. They had three more children in Australia, which included the youngest Peter Versluis (NSW Ambulance Laurieton station officer).

They left their country knowing they would never see their parents or most of their family again. 

“That was tough but we did it so our children would have a better life in this wonderful country Australia,” Marinus said. 

When Marinus stepped off the ship onto Australian soil he remembers seeing a group of children playing football with a ‘very odd shaped ball’. 

“This seemed very odd as I was a keen soccer fan in Holland,” he said. 

Marinus worked on the land throughout South Australia as a bulldozer contractor, market gardener and dairy farmer. 

Marinus has 19 grandchildren, 33 great grandchildren and seven great great grandchildren. 

Peter, Marinus’ son, said he is grateful to the staff at Whiddon Group Laurieton for all the care they have provided his father over the years, which he said has contributed to his longevity. 

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