At 90, Iso­bel has seen it all

Kyabram Free Press - - NEWS - By Char­mayne Al­li­son

ISO­BEL Attwood has a few sto­ries un­der her belt after chalk­ing up 90 years.

There was the time she drove her fam­ily’s cat­tle 46 km from Bun­bartha to Mer­rigum, perched atop her horse Brownie and with only the dog for com­pany.

Or the time she wore a dress made from mos­quito net­ting to her debu­tante ball – it was wartime, and there was no more lace.

De­spite hav­ing count­less ex­pe­ri­ences few of us can come close to, Iso­bel is not sure her story is one worth not­ing.

“I did what I had to do in life and that’s all,” she said.

Born in Leon­gatha in Oc­to­ber 1927, Iso­bel was the only girl in the fam­ily, hav­ing four brothers.

Leav­ing school when she was 14, Iso­bel moved with her fam­ily to Bun­bartha two years later.

Soon after, her father gifted her with her first horse, set­ting in mo­tion a life­long love of the an­i­mals.

Through­out the years, Iso­bel wit­nessed heart­break­ing droughts and years of war.

She picked and packed sweet­corn at Thomp­son’s farm, milked the fam­ily herd day and night and worked at the Shep­par­ton Can­nery dur­ing the sea­son.

“I re­mem­ber when I first ap­plied for a job at the can­nery, the fore­lady walked down the line of us girls and stopped at me,” she re­calls.

“‘How old are you?’ she asked me. When I an­swered with 17, she said, ‘No, you’re 18 and you smoke’.

“It was to­wards the end of the war in those days and cig­a­rette ra­tioning was still en­forced.

“So when I told my em­ployer I was 18 and a smoker, they gave me a ticket for 30 cig­a­rettes. Which the fore­lady con­sis­tently took from me each pay­day.”

In 1948, she met her first hus­band at a dance.

A baker in Tal­ly­ga­roopna, Mal­colm Bar­rot was also a fine dancer and quickly swept Iso­bel off her feet.

Mar­ried a year later, the cou­ple had eight years of happy mar­riage and two chil­dren – Pam and John – be­fore Mal­colm passed away in 1957.

For sev­eral years, Iso­bel gave driv­ing lessons to lo­cals to sup­port her and her chil­dren and con­tin­ued to work at the can­nery for sea­sons.

It was there she met her sec­ond hus­band Jack Attwood in 1973.

In ad­di­tion to call­ing bingo at the se­niors club, Iso­bel is per­haps best known in Kyabram for her tire­less ser­vice to Un­cle Bob’s Club, sell­ing raf­fle tick­ets through rain, hail or shine on Kyabram thor­ough­fares.

With 90 years, two chil­dren, four grand­chil­dren and six great­grand­chil­dren, Iso­bel is welle­quipped to share some wis­dom.

“If there’s ad­vice I would give to young peo­ple, it’d be to keep your body and your brain as ac­tive as you can, no mat­ter your age,” she said.

Iso­bel Attwood holds a photo taken when she was young.

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