Margaret Helen Fleming Dunn – March 28, 1925 - September 15, 2017
Margaret Helen Fleming Dunn passed away on Friday, September 15, aged 92.
The eldest of five children born to Bruce and Jessie (Ma) Holland, Margaret was born in Moruya on March 28, 1925.
Named after her Aunty Margaret and her father’s mother, Helen, and Fleming was her great grandmother’s maiden name.
They then returned to the family home on Woodhill Mountain (Berry).
Her siblings were Elizabeth Jessie Anne ‘Beth’, (1926) who sadly died aged 18 months, followed by Nancy at Moruya in 1927, Campbell at Berry in 1930 and Alex at Berry in 1933.
In 1930 Bruce built the family home Dundee in Victoria Street, Berry.
Margaret attended Berry Public School and Nowra Intermediate High School.
At the age of 14 she left school and was employed by Claude James as a shop assistant in his general store in Queen Street, Berry.
She received 10 shillings per week. She worked on Friday night and half day Saturday as part of her working week.
When she received her first pay packet she went home crying because she thought she was sacked.
When war broke out in 1939 she was living at home and working in the shop.
When Claude James enlisted in the army in August 1941, Margaret started delivering the orders and rode a tricycle with a big box attached to the front of it around the streets of Berry.
It held bags of corn, wheat, bacon sides and groceries. She would ride quite a distance on that bike, hating the uphill ride to Host’s farm over the bridge.
In October 1940, the Jordan family came to live at Dundee.
They had been evacuated from Hong Kong. Mrs Jordan and her four boys, David, Donald, Robin and baby Roger lived with the family until July 1945, when they returned home to England. The Jordan’s are still part of the family’s lives and keep in constant contact with each other.
During this time dance parties were held in the Berry School of Arts to raise money for Patriotic Funds, Red Cross Society etc.
It was usual for card games to be played in the front rooms, in conjunction with the dances.
She met many young American servicemen, Royal Air Force pilots and English sailors from the navy base at Nowra.
At these dances, she was always chaperoned. Her mother would play cards in the front rooms of the School of Arts and afterwards sit in the hall and watch the dancing. Margaret had a wonderful time, the music was wonderful, the dance floor was excellent and she met some wonderful people.
Around this time Jean Bates, a work colleague, was travelling to Sydney to meet her boyfriend, who was on leave from the army.
He was bringing along a friend and invited mum to go with her.
They stayed at the Catholic Women’s Hostel, which is probably the only reason she was allowed to go unchaperoned!
After meeting up with the boys they went to Cahill’s Restaurant and after dinner her new friend Alic walked her home.
A few weeks later she received a letter addressed to Miss Margaret c/- Claude James, Berry.
This friendship blossomed and they wrote regularly to each other and eventually Alic would come to Berry on leave from the army.
Alic Ernest Dunn, became the love of her life.
In October 1943, she began working at the Berry Clothing Factory.
There were about 20 girls employed in the business. They made lingerie and other garments.
She was sent to Sydney for training and loved the job. She learnt so much about garment construction (sleeves and seams and hems) which led to her love for sewing in later life.
She played hockey for the Berry Hockey Club and was the first club secretary.
In October 1945 Alic was repatriated from army service and some months later he moved to Berry and worked for Jim Ebner in his sawmill in Victoria Street.
When Margaret turned 21 in March 1946, they became engaged and they were married at the Berry Methodist Church on June 15, 1946 and the bells at the church rang out for the first time.
Their first child, Robyn Nancy was born at Dundee and was christened in the Methodist Church at Berry four days later.
The family then moved to Fernhill, a suburb of Wollongong where Alic obtained work as a carpenter in the Mount Nebo Coal Mine near Port Kembla.
Margaret and Alic bought a block of land at Corrimal but lived at Sandon Point, Bulli. The family then moved to Beatson Street, Wollongong to live with relatives and while living there Christopher Bruce was born.
While working at the Steelworks in Port Kembla, Alic met up with Mr Fulton, an engineer he had known in the army.
The family then moved to Picnic Point and lived in the garage behind the home of Mr and Mrs Fulton and family.
Alic secured a job with the Enfield Brickworks and while the family were living here that Alexis Margaret (Lexi) was born.
Alic’s father, ‘Ernie’ Dunn, died in Revesby in December 1953 and bequeathed a block of land there together with a property at St Peters to him.
By selling the land at Corrimal and the property at St Peters, Alic and Margaret could build a home on the vacant block of land at Revesby.
Andrew was born at Dundee on February 27, 1956.
Alic joined the masonic Lodge Padstow No. 799 on July 15, 1957.
This became a great interest in his life and because of it the whole family got involved. He went on to hold several executive positions.
Margaret worked at Repco from the early 1970s where she quickly became secretary of the social club and grew the soccer club to keep all the families of immigrants included and lots of weekend adventures - she was there until she retired, aged 60.
It was at Repco where she met her very dear friend Lauris who became like another daughter and sibling.
Then ensued many adventures and mischief over the years. The grandkids loved the annual Repco Christmas party.
Her grandchildren are Michelle, Mathew and Nicole Florance from Robyn, Kylie, Cherie and Luke Saare from Lexi and Pete, Mark Dunn (Chris’ son) and Seb, Andy’s son with Pip.
Michelle, Mathew, Nicole, Kylie, Cherie and Luke grew up at their grandparents’ house, with Trumpy the beloved dog.
They were shipped off there every school holidays while their parents worked.
They built forts in the backyard around the slippery dip, were taken on many excursions around the city by train and put on plays to entertain their Poppo and Gran.
They were taught to play cards, make coffee and slept on camp beds made up in the two bedrooms together.
They loved it! Gran sewed them all clothes and Poppo built them amazing cubby houses.
Every Christmas was spent at Gran and Poppo’s house too.
Margaret eventually became ‘Gran’ to all the grandkids’ friends and many of them spent a night drinking scotch and playing cards with her, of course at an older age.
After many years of illness Alic died on November 5, 1989.
His passing left a void. After much discussion and reluctance, it was decided to sell the family home in Revesby.
Margaret sold the house and purchased a unit in Cabramatta. She became involved then with the Masonic Widows Club and held various executive positions over the years.
She made some lovely friends and still attended lots of outings with this group up until recently.
After a few years the unit was sold and Margaret and Chris built a ‘Granny Flat’ at the rear of his and Sue’s home in Hayman Avenue, Hinchinbrook where she continued to live.
She joined various charities and groups and she volunteered at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, she volunteered for the service for the disabled, same as her son Chris.
She also volunteered with the vision impaired and went on outings with them and made some lovely friends through these groups too.
She loved her sewing and the sewing machine was part of the family. She could still carry out a conversation with a mouth full of pins.
She also loved jigsaws, crossword puzzles and games of cards as well as Sudoku puzzles and any games that kept her mind active. She loved her crime books and watching any sport.
She loved her Bulldogs thanks to Poppo and she attended the tennis with Nicole and Michelle as often as she could.
The grandkids grew up going to the cricket with her. She would often watch well into the night!
She still knew everyone’s phone number off by heart - home and mobile too.
Her nails were always impeccable and she would drive down the coast to get them done especially! And of course, visit the family.
She loved her food, her wine and baking and she would bake for every occasion - all the parties and every Christmas and every other excuse she had.
She loved to travel and her first trip was to the Philippines in 1977 with her mother, Jessie, and Alic, her sister Nancy and husband Arthur Seymour, cousin Jessie and her husband Owen Gould, to visit Pat and his family, who had previously boarded at the family home in Dundee.
They then visited Macau, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore on this trip too.
Mum also travelled with her brother Alex and his wife Susan through the UK where she visited with the Jordan family, Europe and Canada and the USA.
She visited a lot of places here in Australia, especially to visit Lauris in her various homes and Andy in Brisbane and Tassie and to Shepparton to visit Nicole and family. She would love her train travel anywhere she could go.
She cherished her great grandchildren, Thomas, Ava, Maxi, Tyler, Peter, Zoe, Ella, Chili, Archie, Roxy, and Amba and loved hearing stories about them.
The family is of course devastated she is no longer here but couldn’t have asked for more from her than she gave.
She was generous, she was loving, very loyal, selfless, a little bit stubborn, bossy, opinionated and very talkative but overall was the best mum, grandmother, great grandmother and friend you could ever ask for.
She had a wonderful and fulfilling life and in the end passed away quietly in her favourite chair.
We will love you forever and miss you always.
The family were joined by friends from Berry, Shoalhaven Heads, Tomerong, Nowra, Batemans Bay, Canberra, Melbourne, Darwin, Griffith, Singleton, Port Macquarie, Magnetic Island, Shepparton (Vic) and Sydney suburbs at the funeral on September 20.
(Contributed by the family)