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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Feb-March 2012
56 | www.probussouthpacific.org Mary Newton was just a little girl when eight girls came to her father’s orchard to work as part of the Australian Women’s Land Army. Our orchard – the Cornish family orchard in Ardmona – was assigned a group of girls to help because all the men who usually worked it had enlisted and gone off to war. The girls used to arrive by train and my father would meet them and say: ‘Can you prune, can you cook, are you afraid of heights?’ Most of them just hoped for the best. They had to prune these huge pear trees and used very heavy wooden ladders that were extremely big and awkward. The girls did some hard work, but I loved having them around because I was the only girl in my family – I had two older brothers. I used to bring the girls’ mail home for them – parcels, letters and all sorts of things. Dad put a parcel carrier on the back of my bike and a basket on the front and I used to pedal home with parcels to keep the girls happy. I remember when the girls were leaving they all appeared at our back door asking for me. They thanked me and gave me a lovely inkwell made from a piece of Mulga. Obviously we didn’t have any of those fancy pens or biros back then, we only had a long handle with a nib on it – very Pride and Prejudice when Mr Darcy wrote letters to Elizabeth Bennett. I still have it; it’s one of my little treasures. My husband and I have had two sons and two daughters. Unfortunately we lost our eldest son at 51 years of age to cancer, but the others are all going well. We have 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. One of my daughters lives west of Burke and absolutely loves it there. She’s a real outback kid. I think we’re retired – I’m 80 now. I’ve still got my husband and we’re both lucky enough to be very busy. We love our Probus life and are part of the Dubbo/ Macquarie Probus Club. It’s a very mixed group and they’re all just lovely. Growing up in the country has led two women down very different roads. Ali Klaver spoke to Mary Newton and sophia Waters about everything from land army girls to motorcycle mustering. Life on the land They thanked me and gave me a lovely inkwell made from a piece of Mulga. our tiMes MarkJamesPhotography
Active Retirees Dec-Jan 2012
Active Retirees April-May 2012