Margot Colson...life is what you make it
Warmer weather on the way
Her ancestors came to Australia in 1853 to farm, to own land. They crossed oceans on hope and a belief that opportunity beckoned. That life is what you make it. Margot Hughes came to Wangaratta with this same outlook.
Her childhood had been idyllic. Supportive parents, a loving sister, family holidays and faith were excellent foundations. Margot earnt her pocket money. Fintona Girls’ School was progressive, taught students about community responsibility and concern for others. Encouraged, she loved adventures in the outdoors. Hiking at Wilson’s Promontory, carrying packs on the Overland Track in Tasmania fostered a pioneering spirit. Margot learnt to follow her interests.
Interests in mathematics and chemistry took her to the Victorian College of Pharmacy and registration as a pharmaceutical chemist. This professional life brought her to Wangaratta, where she worked with Jeff Kay, played tennis and joined the Professional Women’s Club.
The two boyfriends courting her were left behind once she met Ron Colson. After eight weeks, Ron asked Margot to marry him. Married to a farmer, she adjusted to farm life. Learnt to be self-sufficient in the Colson tradition of making do. Cows were milked, vegetables grown, seasonal produce processed. Grapefruits became soft, not stiff, marmalade. She even learnt to make hare paste and butter.
Children of her own took her deeper into the community. Volunteering to hear reading at schools; to establish the Noah’s Ark Toy Library; joined Killara Parents’ Group; worked to achieve school integration for students with a disability. Positive people met to achieve posi- tive outcomes, to help make a difference and improve their community. One family, desperate for respite support, captured people’s attention and a committee was formed. The local state member of Parliament at the time, Ken Jasper, listened to their pleas. North East Residential Care Association resulted from this community support.
Margot learnt the impact volunteers had when they worked together. That innovation and change were possible. They take time and energy to achieve, but talking to people, joining com- mittees, meeting members of Parliament and writing submissions did bring about change. Margot’s upbringing taught her that life was what you make it. As a parent she took this one step further – if community life has shortfalls, then get together with others and overcome them.
On Wednesday, March 30, 1983, Margot travelled to Melbourne with Ron and fellow pharmacist Helen Guilfoyle for a presentation. At Government House, amid much splendour, Margot received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). She recollected the mo- ment: “I thought of all those volunteers who had so willingly helped to achieve new projects and changes in our society. I was the one who received the honour but they are all the ones who shared in enriching our community.”
As a professional, Margot was one of the first few women who pioneered a career in the maledominated world of pharmacy. As a mother, she made our community a more caring, inclusive place. Pioneers in Australia seem to share the belief that life is what you make it.
THE recent cool spell which saw Wangaratta record its lowest daytime maximum temperatures for the first week of November since 1994 is gradually being replaced by warmer days, with our first 30 degree spring day likely today.
During the first week of this month there were unprecedented frosts in Western Victoria, the Wimmera and in the south east of South Australia.
Casterton recorded its coldest November morning with minus 0.3 degrees since 1977, while Warracknabeal’s 0.5 degrees was its coldest November morning in 60 years of records.
In South Australia, Strathalbyn recorded its coldest ever November morning with 1.7 degrees - breaking a record which had stood since 1966.
Frosts occurred at Pathaway, Coonawarra, Keith and Naracoorte for the first time in November at these places for at least 40 years.
Deniliquin had its coldest pair of mornings for November since 1872, with the successive readings being 2.2 and 2.3 degrees.
Last week a centre of low pressure approached our region from inland Queensland and delivered some heavy rainfalls at places east of Wagga but light falls elsewhere, although Rutherglen recorded 14mm to Monday morning straight after a frost on the Sunday morning.
The current synoptic weather chart is now shaping up to a normal summer pattern with a zone of high pressure extending along Tasmanian latitudes with a large part of inland Australia, particularly in Northern WA and the central area of the NT covered by an extensive heat low with few individual centres of low pressure.
An upper level disturbance is currently developing over inland WA and some thunderstorms have occurred.
This upper disturbance will be rather slow in reaching our region, probably not until the third week of this month with some thunderstorm activity.
Melbourne had its coldest Cup Day since 1995 with a maximum of 15.8 degrees - the coldest ever Cup Day was 11 degrees in 1913 and the hottest was 35.1 degrees in 1902.