BEST MATES: Ipswich's oldest twins Kevin Greisbach and Shirley Skellern (nee Greisbach) will turn 90 on Friday.
BEST MATES: Ipswich's oldest twins Kevin Greisbach and Shirley Skellern (nee Greisbach) will turn 90 on Friday. Helen Spelitis

Ipswich's oldest twins hit 90

IPSWICH's oldest twins know how to party.

On Friday, Kevin Greisbach and Shirley Skellern (nee Greisbach ) will turn 90 and they're marking it with a two-day celebration - a dinner on Friday night and a big party on Saturday.

The twins remember the days when coal mines were king and the city's Woollen Mills were the backbone of the local job market.

The only time the twins have spent apart was when Kevin, who worked as a teacher, was posted out west.

"We are best friends," Kevin said.

Kevin was born first and about five minutes later Shirley came along.


Shirley Skellern and Kevin Greisbach are Ipswich's oldest twins. Photo: Rob Williams (taken in 2007)
Shirley Skellern and Kevin Greisbach in 2007 when they turned 80, posing with a picture of themselves as babies. Rob Williams

"He's always thought he was the boss because he was born first," Shirley said.

Shirley was a surprise to her mother Doris who hadn't prepared clothes and supplies for two babies.

The family was lucky. The community rallied around them and made sure the twins had everything they needed.

"In those days, doctors didn't know if you were having twins," Shirley said.

"Dad always wanted a girl and after Kevin was born, the doctor told mum he wouldn't be disappointed because then I came along.

"Kevin isn't really the boss but he thinks he is."

Shirley and Kevin were always looking out for each other growing up and today nothing has changed.

Every Friday, Kevin arrives at Shirley's house for a nice cooked meal.

That is except every third Friday when Kevin treats Shirley to a day out at Sizzler.

The twins attended good schools and both had successful careers.

Kevin and Shirley's dad worked in the coal mines.

He was killed in a freak accident.

"Dad wanted better for us," Kevin said. "He always encouraged us to stay in school. He told us about working in small spaces down in the mines."

Kevin and Shirley don't have mobile phones or computers but they're never far apart.

"We both lost our partners at an early age," Shirley said. "It brought us closer together because we could confide in each other. I still ring Kevin for advice every now and again."