……. “If you see something needs doing, do it!”
It is not easy to introduce this wonderful lady, not only is she incredibly well known and loved in her now hometown of Braidwood, she has an enormous wealth of knowledge of the town itself and has worked tirelessly to ensure the history of the town is preserved for future generations.
Margaret had such a beautiful welcoming way about her as she invited me into her home at “Bedervale”, she made me a cuppa and we sat down to reminisce about the life she has lived up until now. She moved to this beautiful homestead in 1972 and recalls when they first arrived that there was no electricity in the house, no proper kitchen, no heating and a very little bathroom however she explained that it was her husband, Rogers’ dream. They had started renovating houses when they lived in Sydney, even taking on an old mill. She chuckled as she recalled that at the time they moved to Braidwood she thought it was at the ends of the earth.
Margaret was born in Wolstencraft, not far from Crows Nest in NSW. Margaret had a brother, ‘Raleigh’, who was 2 ½ years older than her and his death remains the greatest tragedy in Margaret’s life. Attending Frensham Boarding School in Braidwood was a pivotal point for Margaret, she told me of how much the Head Mistress inspired her and that moving to the county was the best thing that ever happened to her. To this day she still sees her Head Mistress as her greatest inspiration and considers these to have been the best years in Australia.
Margaret believes that the secret to living a full life lies in surrounding yourself with your family and close friends and in her words,” always looking on the sunny side”. She told me she just couldn’t do without a ‘Brandy & Dry’ to which she laughed and added, “Oh I do like one when the sun goes over the yardarm”. In todays terms this means time for happy hour to begin……ahhh-good old happy hour!
When I posed the question of what the most memorable lesson her parents taught her was, Margaret responded, “Well they taught me to be honest, do a job and do it well-even if that means sweeping”! Margaret credits her work ethic to the example set by her parents and to this day she lives by the notion of, “If you see something needs doing, do it!”.
When we touched on politics Margaret told me that John Howard used to be her favourite politician however his anti-gay marriage stance changed that. She went on to tell me that Winston Churchill was her inspiration. If there was one thing that Margaret would change about society today it would be to stop the violence. She went on to say that she felt that Trump is a ‘loose cannon’ and that she would like to see automatic gun rules.
Margaret’s favourite childhood memory was meeting Archie Gowan, a retired farmer. “Archie taught me to fence, he had a horse and cart and came to our house to offer help to Mum and I, Archie transformed my whole life”.
I asked Margaret for a quote on life and it was incredible how she rattled this off so easily. “Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone. For this good old earth must borrow its mirth, it has troubles enough of its own”. As Margaret was reciting her quote, I couldn’t help but think of all the times that both my mum and grandma used this quote and dream of what a wonderful world it could be if we all spent more time laughing, and as Margaret so aptly puts it, “looking on the sunny side”.
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