Mary Dutton's Eulogy


AUSTRALIA DAY 2016: Mary Dutton (front right) with other OAM recipients John Hoare, Ray Donald, Jim Hampstead, Peter Keighran and Judy Richards (front left). Ambassador Brad Farmer is on the left. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

AUSTRALIA DAY 2016: Mary Dutton (front right) with other OAM recipients John Hoare, Ray Donald, Jim Hampstead, Peter Keighran and Judy Richards (front left). Ambassador Brad Farmer is on the left. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

Mary Dutton has been involved in Hermidale life since she was a baby and has been a huge part of the Bogan Shire ever since. Here is her eulogy.

Mary Hilary Dewhurst came into the world on November 23, 1929 at the Clydebank Private Hospital in Dubbo. At the time her mother Neta was living with her parents-in-law at Eumungerie as husband Hartley built somewhere for them to live on a block he had recently drawn at Hermidale. Home soon became a two bedroom hut and a tent on the banks of the Whitbarrow Creek at Urunda, Hermidale. The family thrived and grew when brother Bill arrived in 1937.

Correspondence was the only form of primary school that was available for Mary and she duly did her studies as well as playing tennis whenever she could find an opponent, riding horses and going with her parents to the many social gatherings that small communities had in those days.

Soon it was time for secondary school and Mary Dutton was off to MLC in Syndey for five years. What a shock to the system it must have been for a child to go from the bush to a largecity boarding school without ever being in a classroom in her life. Mary settled in and had many fond memories of school life. This was wartime and there were some nervous days as well, such as when the Japanese submarines got into Sydney Harbour and created some havoc. 

Mary was never one to let a small thing like a World War to get in the way making friends and having a good time and so life went on without too many cares and made many friendships during that time that have lasted a lifetime. 

School completed, Mary told us she came home to work on the family property. However there are serious doubts about how much work she actually did. This was in the late 1940s and the early 1950s, war was over and life was good.

She involved herself in anything social in the Hermidale and Nyngan districts. She was an entrant in the Queen Competition to raise money to build the Nyngan Swimming Pool. 

She went to race meetings, tennis tournaments, country week, local shows, gymkhanas, dances and balls. There was plenty to do and as was the case for the rest of her life, if there was somewhere to go, Mary went. 

She held many positions in local organisations over the years. She was secretary of the Hermidale P&C, a founding member and a president of Hermidale CWA, president and life member of the Nyngan PA&H society, a founding member of the Nyngan Pony Club, secretary of the Hermidale Gymkhana, a member of Nyngan Quota club and an early member of the Nyngan Water Ski Club.

In 1948 two young bachelor brothers from the wrong side of Hermidale bought the property Alkoomie which was across the Nymagee Road from Urunda. Peter won Mary’s heart and in 1952 they were married and Mary moved across the road to her new home. 

Mary and Peter were very involved together in local district organisations and events for the rest of the lives and were both very proud to receive an Order of Australia Medal a few years ago for their efforts over a life time of community service.

Four children; Danny, Mark, Phillip and Lisa arrived over the next 15 years with a significant gap between each one. In due course the children were educated and as with many people both at that time and now, Mary and Peter made significant sacrifices to be able to afford school fees for the 20 years in a row that they had kids in school at Sydney. 

Mary had a great love of the land, farming and the rural lifestyle, but didn’t need to be involved in the day to day running of the farm. Her efforts in her life were directed mainly towards the many organisations she was involved in and social functions and events that happened in the local area.

The Pony Club and Hermidale CWA were her two favourite organisations. Mary and Peter Dutton were synonymous with Pony Club.  Mary enjoyed organising rallies, Camps, One Day Events and any number of other events at Gymkhanas and shows. She got great pleasure from the enjoyment young people got riding horses. 

The last few years of Mary’s life were the best of times and the worst of times. Peter died in 2012 and after 60- odd years of marriage she was on her own. This was soon followed by having to leave Alkoomie and move to Nyngan. 

She soon adjusted to life in town and over the last few years it has been hard to track her down down as she was forever at the CWA or lunch, or somewhere there was people. She really enjoyed her new lifestyle.

Mary didn’t live in quite the same world as us, she saw the world the way she wanted it to be. That worked well for her 87 years.