Beaudesert's Edna McDougall celebrates 105th birthday

Former Beaudesert dairy farmer Edna McDougall celebrates 105th birthday

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Family, friends and neighbours past and present came to the party.


FIVE years after receiving her letter from the Queen, Edna McDougall today celebrated her 105th birthday with friends, family and neighbours past and present.

Mrs McDougall was born and bred in Beaudesert from hardy stock - her own mother lived for 100 years and eight months.

Born on July 4 1914, Edna Mabel Frances McDougall nee Platell said Beaudesert in those days was true dairy farming country.

"There were farms all the way from the border and right through here," she said.

"There was no electricity, we had kerosene lamps and wood fires. I can remember when there were no cars and I rode my horse from our farm at Josephville to Lower Tamrookum school.

"Sometimes there would be three of us on the same horse to get to school and I used to ride into Beaudesert for music and sewing lessons too."

Mrs McDougall married a dairy farmer but was widowed at the age of 42 during a time of extreme drought.

"I had a herd of hungry cattle to feed and four children to raise but we only had 75 acres and we kept the farm going," she said.

When her son Frank married and moved away, her two youngest daughters Fay and Dorothy were still at school so Mrs McDougall maintained the farm for six years with help from her teenaged daughter Glenys.

"Glenys could drive a tractor and the other farmers praised her for her straight corn rows," she said.

"We didn't have irrigation but we had very good lucerne land and we made all our own feed."

"There was always a job to do but people were happy and I did have help."

Three teenagers who helped Mrs McDougall keep her farm afloat after Glenys married and moved away were at the birthday celebration at Wongaburra, and all said they had learned their trade from her.

Mrs McDougall said Howard Loweke was now farming at Beaudesert, Graham Smith at Cedar Grove and Ian Smith at Peak Crossing.

She said she had used the skills learned at those sewing lessons in Beaudesert to make all her children's clothes and also taught her daughters to sew.

"I remember we were still making Glenys's dress when her fella came to take her to a dance," Mrs McDougall said.

"It was gold with green sequins and we were still sewing the sequins on when he knocked on the door."

After selling the farm in 1967, Mrs McDougall moved to Delamore Street where she lived happily with her neighbours, John and Dorothy Staines on one side and Bob and Lylie Downes on the other.

Mr Downes was also at the 105th birthday party, where the pair reminisced about the gate he had installed between the properties.

"That gate is still there," he said. "We call it Edna's gate."

A resident of Wongaburra since 2012, Mrs McDougall was a champion bowler still playing indoor bowls until earlier this year and as patron of Beaudesert Senior Citizens was still attending meetings.

She remembered when Beaudesert was a thriving town and reminisced about Enright's department store, run by the Enright brothers.

"They had everything from clothing to groceries," Mrs McDougall said.

"They were a universal provider and if they didn't have something in stock they would order it in for you."

She attributes her longevity to hard work, good food and getting along with everyone.

"I've never had a glass of beer - I have tasted it but I didn't like it," she said.

"I've never really had cross words with anyone or gone up in the air just because someone had a different opinion to me because that was just natural."

Mrs McDougall said she lived a happy life at Wongaburra and although her son Frank had passed away in 1998, her three daughters came to visit every week and she was grateful for the care she received.

"All the nurses here are so good," she said. "The problem is I can't see their faces clearly any more and I really wish I could."

The number of people at the celebration was testament to the amount of respect Mrs McDougall had earned over the years.

Happy birthday, Mrs McDougall.

Beaudesert Times

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