Margary Murice Roberts
|Type of person|| Individual
|Principal occupation||Home maker and Community worker|
|Date of death||1985|
|Place of decease||Mallala|
Margary Roberts was born on 16th December 1907,the first child of a family of six children born to Clarice Eva (nee East) and Arthur Marshman of Mallala. Her parents were from pioneering families of the Mallala District and both were active in the community. Arthur was Chairman of the District Council of Grace and the Mallala School Committee. Clarice was also involved in the school with the Welfare group and both participated in activites within the Mallala Methodist Church. Following her years at boarding school where music tuition was a favourite subject, Margary's father encouraged her talent for playing the piano and she became a very competent pianist, accompanist and organist. This was to be a life time interest for her and a valuable attribute in which to assist in the district.
On March 18th 1931 she married Melville William Roberts in the Mallala Methodist Church and settled into a home on his parents farm at Redbanks (near Mallala).
It was in the midst of the depression and times were difficult. A son Malcolm was born in 1934 and a daughter Rosemary in 1937. However in the same year Melville developed health problems and died in 1939.
This was a very difficult time for Margary and the children both emotionally and financially, but eventually, with help from her family, they moved into a house in the township of Mallala.
It was the early years of World War Two and the RAAF No 6 Service Flying Training School was being established at Mallala in 1941. Accommodation for workmen and families was a high priority and towns people and those living nearby were requested to open their homes and assist with accommodation for these people. Margary offered two rooms in her house to Officer's wives and family. Her brother was in the RAAF and his wife also came to stay. Everyone in Mallala and the district was becoming involved in the war effort. Margary along with the ladies of the district worked for the Fighting Forces Comfort Fund (FFCF) and also the Australian Red Cross and worked hard to raise money for these organizations. Margary became the president of the groups who regularly met in the former Church of Christ building in Mallala.
After many long years the war ended in 1945 and Margary and the ladies continued their work until it was no longer deemed necessary.
Branches of The Country Womens Association of South Australia were being formed in communities all over the state. Margary and her group of hard working, caring ladies wished to continue their actitvities so in March 1946 the Mallala Branch of the Country Womens Association was formed.
Margary Roberts became the foundation president of the group and continued in that capacity for 28 years. She was awarded Life Membership in 1967.
Margary eventually became Group President and later Divisional President and State International Officer. She led the South Australian delegation to the South East Pacific Conference in Fiji. She served on many committees pertaining to C.W.A. and her secretary for many years was Mrs Valda Curnow.
Margary was involved in the establishment of the Mallala Hospital and the negotiations for a bus service to Gawler High School. She served at times on the Mallala Primary School committee, the Gawler High School Council and the Mallala Institute. The Hospital Auxillary, the Dunstan Court Aged Care units, and the first Aged Care Hostel Accommodation were all organizations which benefitted from her interest and involvment and were symbols of her concern for others.
Following World War Two she continued to take in boarders. Most of these were young single boys who came to work in the Post Office or Bank or the Stock firm. They all enjoyed being mothered by Margary Roberts who encouraged them to get involved with activities in the town and converted even the most reluctant city boys into ambassadors for Mallala. Many of these boys kept in touch with her over many years.
When Margarey's two children left home, she became receptionist and friend to the local doctors John and Jeanette Linn and later to Dr Myrna Fernandez.
Margary had a strong faith in God and involvment in the Methodist Church and was involved in the music of the wider church as accompanist, organist and choir leader over many years. From the difficult early years following the death of her husband, Margary became a people's person who lived for her family and for people everywhere.
Margary died on the 19th January 1985 aged 77 years.
- Information provided by Rosemary - daughter of Margary Roberts