Video | A 105th birthday message from ScoMo

It's not every day the Prime Minister of Australia sends a birthday shout-out.

But the wishes are well deserved for Illawong's Frances Holden, who turns 105 this month.

Frances will mark the big milestone on August 28. But she will celebrate with her family on August 25, with a party organised in her honour.

It's an exceptional achievement, as she is also one of the oldest people in Sutherland Shire. The oldest is Frank Mawer, who turned 107 this month.

The highlight was getting a video message from Scott Morrison, who congratulated Frances on reaching 105.

"We stand back in awe of the life you have lived and continue to live...and how you are able to pass that wisdom and learning to your family, " Mr Morrison said.

Her grandson Nick Holden, 44, organised the surprise for his Nan.

"I know ScoMo, and when I was kindly invited to Kirribilli House I told him about my Nan and he said, 'mate, I have to do it for you'. I thought, what a legend."

Frances was born in 1914 in Manchester in the UK during World War I - two years after the Titanic sunk.

She had most of her children in the 1940s during the Second World War. She recalls very clearly having to hide under tables as sirens blasted through her hometown. When she was due to have her third child, she travelled to the safer countryside to avoid city hospitals, where the Germans were bombing. One of those bombs dropped from a plane, and exploded in a field next to the house where Frances was preparing to have her baby.

Her husband, a smoker, died in 1975. The oldest of her three children is 81 years of age.

Frances was 54 years of age when man first landed on the moon. She moved to Australia in the 1990s and lives with her daughter.

Adventure has always been somewhat of a passion. She climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge for her 90th birthday and took a helicopter flight for her 95th birthday.

Mr Holden says his Nan is still "super sharp and on the ball."

"She hasn't lost anything over the years," he said.

"She used to watch a bit of formula one, and she loves and lives to watch tennis. A lot of the world's top 10 tennis players sent her birthday cards for her 100th after I wrote to all the top 50. She got cards from Rafael Nadal, Pat Rafter and John McEnroe. I've also asked Lleyton Hewitt to do a video and he's keen.

"Her secret to a long life she says is bananas and Baileys - not necessarily in that order!"


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