52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

52 Ancestors #14 Maiden Aunt

As soon as I read the topic, I knew who to write about – my aunt, Margaret Amelia Marr.

Margaret Amelia Marr
My aunt, Margaret Amelia Marr

Margaret was born 17 May 1924 at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Carlton, Victoria, Australia.  She was two years younger than my mum, and two years older than their brother, Aubrey.  At the time of her birth, the family were living at KooWeeRup, where her father was working as a farmer.

Their mother ran off with another man, and their father was ill, so Margaret, my mum, and their brother Aubrey went to live with their aunt, Amelia Marr (another maiden aunt), who lived in the family home at 58 Lothian Street, North Melbourne.  The electoral rolls show that their grandparents, Henry Palmer Marr and Mary Reeves, alternated their time between the farm at Baxter, and the house in North Melbourne.

Their grandfather had originally bought 58 Lothian Street in the late 1890s, and the family originally had a grocery business.  The business had to close because they had extended too much credit, so Henry built a factory next door at 56 Lothian Street, where the family had a dressmaking business, which daughter Amelia ran.

After leaving school, Margaret and mum went to work with Amelia in the dressmaking business.  Mum worked there until her marriage to dad in 1952, and Margaret stayed there until her aunt Amelia died in 1954.

I asked once why Margaret had never married, and I was told that Margaret did have a boyfriend, who went off to fight in World War 2.  He was killed in action, and the family didn’t tell her he was killed, so she kept waiting for him to return.

After her aunt Amelia died, Margaret went to live at 2 Kookaburra Road Upper Ferntree Gully, where she worked as a phonogram operator for PMG (Post Master General).  She then moved to Frankston, where she continued to work for PMG, which later became Telecom.  In 1968 she was living at 53 Fleetwood Crescent, and her occupation was listed on the electoral roll as overseer.  In 1969 she moved to 8 Balcombe Street Frankston, and her occupation was listed on the electoral rolls as monitor.  She lived at 8 Balcombe Street until she retired from Telecom around 1983.

Mum and Aunty Margaret were always close, so we visited her many times over the years at her house at Frankston.  What I remember most about these visits is climbing the tree in her front yard, swimming at the beach, and playing with the girl who lived next door, who was the same age as me.

I stayed with Aunty Margaret for a year while I was attending the Frankston State College.  I was 18 years old, and going to college, so I was at college, out with friends, or studying in my room most of the time, and on weekends I went home to mum and dad. About the only time we spent together was to eat the evening meal.

My mum and dad had always said they wanted to retire at, or near, Kilcunda.  My dad had visited his grandparents, and later his aunt and uncle, on the farm at nearby Woolamai when he was growing up, and loved the place, so that is where we spent our summer holidays as well.  That is why Margaret decided to move there after she retired around 1983, and she bought a house at Lot 74 Kilcunda Ridge Road in Kilcunda. Mum and dad didn’t move to Wonthaggi until 1988, after dad retired, and mum died in 1990, so she ended up only having 2 years living close to her sister.

Since dad continued to live at Wonthaggi after mum died, I would drop in and see Aunty Margaret on my way home from visiting dad.  My family is quiet, we don’t talk much, but with Aunty Margaret it was hard to get a word in edgewise.  After I became interested in family history, I tried to ask Aunty Margaret about what she knew about the family, but it was hard to keep her on topic. I guess that because she lived alone, and that during her working life she had spent her time talking on the telephone, she needed the opportunity to talk about what had been going on in her life.

Aunty Margaret died at her home at 31 Kilcunda Ridge Road, Kilcunda, on 29 July 2009, from intracerebral haemorrhage.  My sister found her when she went to visit.  Because her death was unattended, an inquest was held into her death.  The certifying Medical Practitioner or Coroner was the Coroners Court of Victoria.  Margaret was buried 17 August 2009 at the Kilcunda Cemetery.

Background of featured image is a photo from Unsplash – https://unsplash.com/photos/umq-jgTjr28 Photo by unsplash-logoAlex Talmon