Mary Mogensen Eulogy

Albert Street home, Rosewood, Ipswich c1991

Photo: Kathryn Rodgers Source: Picture Ipswich


Eulogy delivered by Coral Niethe (nee Mogensen)

I only lived in Rosewood for 18 years, but I consider myself a “Rosewood girl”.  Phedora Mary Mogensen lived in Rosewood for over 100 years and I consider her a “Rosewood Royal” – and that’s not only because she was my mum….she has left a dynasty – a legacy of consistency.

Born on 18.12.1921 in “Nurse Stubbs’s Hospital” here in John Street, she had several homes in Rosewood.  Her first home was the Evans Family Property at Tallegalla. John William and Lilla Dorothy Evans already had seven children – Lilla, Len, Trix, Joe, George, Gladys and Ted.  The new daughter was given the name of “Phedora” – the 4th Phedora in the extended Evans/ Harding family.  Mum liked the name Phedora – but she was known as Mary.

Shortly after she was born the family moved into a house in Matthew Street. Her father had erected a galvanized building in John Street to sell and service the increasingly popular motor cars.  The family did not own a car themselves, so when it was delivery time her father would tie his horse to the new car, and it would trot along behind ready to be ridden back to the garage.  Other memories of this time included watching the bullock teams bring their big logs into the sawmill and a particularly strict teacher who used soap to scrub out the mouths of any children who swore… perhaps that is why we never ever heard a swear word from our mother – her mouth remained soap free!

Four more children, Bob, Winnie, Allen, and Harry were born before the family moved back to their farm. The children were excited about the idea of having animals but for Mary, over the next 18 years, they symbolized a lot of work and long, hard days.  As a primary aged girl she was feeding calves and pigs before and after the 4 kilometer walk to Tallegalla school with her siblings including five-year-old Allen.  There was also another period when she went to school in Rosewood. It only took 30 minutes to walk there but it was nearly an hour to plod up the hill home – to do more farm work and then start on homework after tea.

It is no wonder that Mum had such a strong work ethic all her life – even when she was in hospital last month, she would say “ I can’t sit around and do nothing all day, dear”.

Tallegalla School was easy for mum. She was one of the first girls from Tallegalla School to sit for her Scholarship exam at the end of Year 8. She passed and the next two years she went by horse then rail motor to Ipswich Technical College to do a commercial course. This prepared her to work in Evans Brothers’ garage – as well as doing the farm and house work!

Despite the hard work and the particularly grim war years when three of her beloved brothers enlisted and went overseas, Mum often shared happy memories of her time at “Pinegrove” with her family and relatives in adjoining farms.  Close family bonds developed that lasted all her life. She was very fond of her brothers, and it seems they were particularly good to her before she was married – Big brother Len took her to school on his motorbike occasionally and younger brother Bob would help “control” her horse by standing with one foot on his horse’s back and one on her horse’s back. It was brother Ted who helped her with the farm chores.  The brothers even bought her a washing machine in 1947 so she didn’t have to continue to do their filthy garage and farm clothes by hand.

Mum stayed close to her sisters and sister- in-laws too. She helped Trix and Arthur when their children had whooping cough and she travelled to Sydney to look after Lilla and Charlie’s family when they needed help. She was there when Gladys, Glen and Estelle were ill and of course she lived with Aunty Trix when they were both widows.   Her love and concern for her siblings and their families never waned and the importance of family relationships was imprinted in us as children.

Mum was thrilled when her photo of the “Pinegrove” home with some of her family was chosen to be on the cover of the Rosewood History book “Rosewood Then and Now” and proud to have a sign declaring that where she grew up – was, officially, “Evans Hill”.

Along with the hard work, time with family and relatives, the years at “Pinegrove” were a time when she grew in her Christian faith. I cannot really remember my mum talking openly about her faith at home – but she read her bible regularly, she went to worship just about every Sunday of her life and she found solace in prayer.  I wasn’t surprised when Shirley Boughen told me that Mum had asked her years ago to play a special hymn at her funeral – “Turn your eyes upon Jesus”.

Mum made a personal commitment to follow Christ as a young woman and that faith was nurtured by the church families that met in this place over the years, and then, as now mum made true friends at church functions. It was through her church friend Myrl Johnson that mum met Albert Mogensen.

Mary and Albert were married on 2nd May 1949. They bought a house in Madden Lane and rented a small shop at 7 John Street, Rosewood so Albert could establish his boot repair business and hopefully sell sandshoes to the coal miners and rubber boots to the farmers.  Their three daughters Dora, Doris and Coral were born during the 7 years they lived in Madden Lane. We had goats to provide milk and great neighbours, the Wass family, who minded us while Mum did shop work.

IN 1956, Mum and Dad decided to expand their business and move house. So our new home was the house/ shop combo at 5 John Street.   Before too long we had a new sibling – William Albert.

For us 4 children, life at 5 John Street was pretty good and mum was surrounded by family. Dad’s sister Tilly and her husband Jack Quinlivan had a café across the road and mum’s friend Myrl who married her brother Ted, lived up the road, brother Len and his wife Doreen lived around the corner, the Yates and the Yarrows lived a bike ride away and youngest brother Harry and his wife Pam lived in the next street.  Pop Evans and her brother George often popped in for a cup of tea and of course Mum went to “Pinegrove” to help Gran on the weekend.

With Evans cousins our own age – Noel, David, Jim, Dorothy, Ann, Margaret, Ross, Peter, Andrew and Myleah and the Quinlivans – Dawn, Gordon, and Ann as well as ALL the older cousins – our play time and parties were always about relatives.  And of course Uncle Bob, Aunty Shirley and their family visited from Ipswich;  Uncle Allen, Aunty Glen and their family shared their Beachmere holiday home with us; Uncle Joe, Aunty Estelle and cousin John visited from wherever they lived, and we visited the Clewett family at “Lemon Grove” in New South Wales.  Holidays were with mum’s Aunt Delia at Redcliffe.

Mum loved all her nieces and nephews, and she was so thrilled that so many of them came with their spouses to her 100th birthday celebration last year.

For Mum, living behind the shop was again hard work. She did have shop assistants – Mary Yarrow, Lyn King, Karen Davis and Shirley Doyle spring to mind – but I suspect she enjoyed shop work more than housework because she also paid Daphne Davis and Ida Brockhurst to help in the home.  Obviously, us four Mogensen children, were too busy playing with our cousins, to help in the shop or the house!

During this time, Mum went to Brisbane for classes in photographic Colouring.       As well as running “Almo’s Shoe Store”, Mum and Dad had a photographic business and Mum trimmed and tinted many a wedding photo. She asked for a small piece of material so she could mix and match the dress colours –  EXACTLY!  She knew her colours!

Mum met many people through their business, and she was very involved with friends in School Committees and of course in this church – particularly the Rieck family.  She enjoyed learning new things- I remember cake icing and millinery classes – but mostly she enjoyed having a cup of tea with Aunty Tilly after they both finished in their shops.

The family grew. Coral married Geoff, Dora married Keith, and Doris married Dan. Mary and Albert were blessed with 5 grandchildren  – Patricia and Kent, Rachel and Garth and Stephen. They were a special comfort and distraction for mum after Albert died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident in 1980.   Will and Elizabeth married later that year and before long, Mary had four more grandchildren – Carly, Adele, Todd, and Liza.  All nine grandchildren were a great blessing to Mary in her time of grief adjusting to life without Albert and Almo’s without Almo!    Thankfully for her, Will bought the business and continued to inundate her with his friends and his washing– but he never did change it to WILMO’s.  Mum continued to be involved in the shop for many years – every escape from covid lockdowns included a trip to the shop to make sure Will had not bought too many shoes.

Her life turned a corner when she moved into her Albert Street home with sister Trix. They lived about 18 years together and all the grandchildren have many fond memories of time spent there.  Mary became involved with Cabanda – as a Member of the Foundation Committee and as Trolley lady when the home was opened.  She tried her hand at playing the keyboard, she enjoyed her garden, trips away with Trix and regular visits from Will, Elizabeth and the children who lived close.

However, Mum frequently had asthma and bronchitis in that weatherboard home, so she made the decision to move into a Unit at “Cabanda” just before she was 80.

Mum’s health improved and she had some very happy times – living between two friends from earlier years – Hazel Johnstone and Mary Kuss.  Trix was also at “Cabanda” and Joyce Rieck and other church friends would organize coffee mornings at the café. She joined in activities and bus trips. She settled happily into retirement – stitching, crocheting, reading, watching quiz shows on TV, doing crosswords, there were lots of visitors and visiting, endless cups of tea and of course playing scrabble every time family visited – and I think every day or even twice a day with the lovely Mrs Kuss!

It is this home of 18 years,  Granny’s birthday celebration held every year for those years, and family holidays, that hold memories for her oldest great grandchildren – Emma, Katie, Layla, Abigail, Ben, Lilla, Ebony, Olivia, Adele, Imogen, Georgia, Evangeline, Mitchell, Jordan and Jacob.   But of course it was during this time that Dora died. Mum was devasted and her grief impacted her health for quite some time. She instigated the Shave for Cancer Day at “Cabanda” and she made regular donations to the Cancer Foundation.  The other,…. not quite so hard,  thing at this time was that she was told that she was too old to volunteer at “Cabanda”……. She really loved helping “those old people” but she adjusted to being a client of “The Link” instead.

Over the years, Mum had many mini holidays with her families, and she did what she always did – she worked -although we TRIED to make her relax.   It was when she was making a bed, she fell and broke her pelvis. Strangely – she thrived on the intensive rehab in her early nineties and bounced back better than she was before…… until she fell again and broke her shoulder.

This wasn’t without its silver lining though either. For several months, Mum had said she was ready to go into Residential Care –  but she didn’t meet the criteria!  After she broke her shoulder, she did – but I suspect it was because she said that I was now an elderly carer, that she got the  extra points by the Assessment Team.

Mum moved into Room 217 at Cabanda in 2019.  She was almost 98.  She was pleased that she knew so many staff and residents and loved to visit her niece Joyce Abood and  sister-in-law Pam.  In recent months, she has valued the visits of her second cousin Shirley (nee Harding).   Cabanda staff took care of her well and she often said she had no complaints – except none of the residents played scrabble!

Mary’s youngest great grandchildren – Jude, Eleanor, James, Oliver, Evie Rose and Riley added to the delight she always found in her large immediate family….She didn’t get to meet her youngest great grandchild, Stephen and Nina’s baby, Dori’s  grandson, Henry – but she did see the photo of him wearing the cute little suit bearing a photo of her on the front- especially made for all her great grandchildren for her 100th birthday party and that made her very happy.

Granny delighted in all her children, their spouses, and their families. She loved to meet up with her friends and even our friends. Covid restrictions were hard for her and her two falls in August/ September this year,  even harder.   However, even if she hadn’t seen you for a while or if she was in pain  – her face would still light up in greeting.   In recent months she wasn’t quite sure of  everyone’s name…… but she still played a mean game of scrabble – and she always checked out your shoes!

Thanks, Mum, for showing, by example, what it means to have a good relationship with family, with God and with those around us – especially those who could do with a little support.  You were greatly loved and will be mightily missed.  A grand Rosewood Lady.


The service is online at https://www.tastefultransitions.com.au/phedora-mary-mogensen


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