This is My Story

By Margaret Brooks, 93. Bacchus Marsh, Victoria

Sunday 8.8.2021

I was born at Quamby Hospital, Bacchus Marsh on the 3.9.1927. I grew up in the Raglan Cottage, Melton. In those days, most of the roads and streets were dirt roads. I had some very happy days going to school and playing skippy and hop scotch. Also, we had nature study days taking walks and planting gum trees along the roads. We were all happy children along with our cousins and friends.

My Dad was a war veteran who worked hard making the roads on those very hot days. On the school holidays I would go in the horse and cart and the beautiful horse was a Clydesdale named Snowy. My lovely mother was an angel. She would make plenty of nice sandwiches for lunch, cakes, and hot tea and cold water from the underground well. We also took my little dog Peter with us. I would take the census of how many cars travelled up and down on the road each day for my Dad’s government book and greatly enjoyed my days.

When my Dad finished work we would go to the creek and take the cart and horse into the water to cool after the hot day. When I didn’t go and was back to school, my Dad would stop off at the hotel to cool off with some cool drinks and they would tie the horse and cart out the front at the drinking bowls. Sometimes my dear Mother would ask me to go up to the front door of the hotel to call my Dad to come home for tea to a nice meal, but sometimes the horse would untie the reins and walk the cart home alongside the dirt road, as he got tired of waiting. We would take the bridle and girth off and Snowy would have his feed in the long yard.

I got Scarlet Fever when I was six years old and had to go to Fairfield Infectious Hospital in Melbourne. I was so unhappy as I couldn’t have any visitors and I had to be bathed in phenylalanine and take horrible medicine. I missed my Mum so very much. A lovely nurse brought me a lovely doll to take with me for comfort.

When I returned home to Melton I was very thin so my lovely Mother sent me to the Mechanics Hall across the road to learn tap and toe dancing which I loved very much. It built my body and my muscles up and I looked forward to it every week. I had a lovely dance teacher and we were on a lot of the stage as we got older each year. Also in our later years we would be in the Fancy Dress Ball at the same hall and some lovely ballroom dancing.

During all those years we also had some very sad times as my Father’s health failed. He became very aggressive toward us and my beautiful mother suffered for us. I was very close to my Mother and was always with her wherever she went. She is my best memory ever for the joy and laughter she gave to all. Also when young, my brother Brian used to take me with him to go rabbiting over the paddocks. He was such a kind brother. We also went down to the creek and one day I had new shoes and my brother pushed me in and ruined my shoes and made me upset. I also got in trouble when I got home.

When I turned ten years old the family moved to Maidstone for work for my brother as by now he was totally and permanently incapacitated but still had to work for the rest of his life. By then I got older but went to school at St. John’s Catholic School. I liked to write and read and write essays and enjoyed the Christmas school plays. I also still tap danced and learned ballroom dancing and had some good friends. As I mentioned before, throughout all the sadness I learnt a lot about love and laughter and in my years onward I found happiness with my lovely daughter who cares about me. We have beautiful memories all because of Robyn Lee.

Signing off. With thanks.

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1 year ago

Margaret, I really loved reading your story. The memories of your girlhood are captured beautifully and remind us of a time when life was not necessarily easier but certainly simpler without the intrusion of today’s technology. Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.

Trish Woodyard.
Trish Woodyard.
1 year ago

I loved hearing my Aunty Margaret’s voice ,talking about her childhood in Melton.
It wasn’t an easy childhood,but her Mother’s love shone through. I can just see her tap dancing,she loved dancing in her adult years too.