Document, memoir - Cruel Circumstances
From the Collection of Melbourne Legacy 293 Swanston Street Melbourne Victoria
- 1 letter handwritten in blue biro on faint lined writing paper, 1 square yellow Postit note handwritten in black ink, 39 photocopied sheets, black on white, four holes punched for filing, double sided, tied in top left corner with pale pink ribbon.
- 210 x 148 mm; 75 x 75 mm; 297 x 210 mm, 39 pages
- Quotes extensively from her father's WWI diaries (Frank Goodyear McIntosh, born 24.2.1988 in Albert Park, Vic), and gives the genealogy of both parents' families. Margaret was born in 1937 with a squint and her brother was stricken with polio at the age of 17 and hospitalised for many years. She recounts a modest but happy childhood. Her father died in 1946, possibly as a result of being gassed during the war and being a smoker. Her father had never seen a Repatriation doctor so her mother was only eligible for a civilian widows pension. In 1947 Margaret was a wreath bearer at the Legacy Children's Service at the Shrine, so by then they were being cared for by Legacy. "It was at least 18 months before Mum heard that we were eligible for assistance by Legacy" and their Contactor was Legatee John Law-Smith. She recounts the ways in which Legacy helped the family (Page 15), including gym, ballet, and annual concerts, and mentions Miss Domec-Carre and speech teacher Miss Winifred Williams. Less enthusiastic was her attendance at the Legacy dentist in Collins Street who "had a dreadful temper. I recall being slapped on the back of the hand for gripping the arm rests too tightly." She went to the Christmas Party at Government House where "Mum was thrilled to be poured a cup of tea by Sir Thomas Blamey." She also went to girls' holiday camps in Gippsland, Mt Martha, and Ararat.
Her brother had become a 'chain smoking drunk' and she envied the girls who lived at the Legacy Residences. A scholarship was arranged for Margaret through the Sir Samuel McCaughey Bequest to the best high school in the area by their Legacy Contactor, who visited them every month. Despite loving the school, Margaret felt a failure from the start and she had to pass on her poor results to the Legacy Committee, and she tells of "our family contactor: this very shy bachelor who was trying to gauge, in the nicest possible way, why this awkward young girls was doing so poorly at school."
She began work in the Melbourne Legacy office in 1954, her main job being typing and organising the printing of the weekly newsletter, which had to be delivered to the Tuesday luncheon at a large city hotel. Margaret paints a picture of a frantically busy, but happy and supportive office. After her marriage in 1957 her life became a succession of health catastrophes and depression, despite which she had three daughters and travelled overseas with her husband, Bob.
- On letter handwritten in black ink: "I spoke with Margaret, who seems a lovely lady, very bright and cheery, and thanked her for this copy of her "autobiography." She has given us permission to use it as we will." signed 'T.Walsh GM'
- 20 Feb 2020 at 11:17AM