Thursday, May 14, 2015


This is the final chapter of mum's book.  She had a wonderful holiday until suddenly taken ill and spending time in Darwin Hospital after a life and death operation.  Here she returns home to her family and friends and what a relief it was to have her home again.

Final excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME' by Gertrude Ruston.
(pp 240-242)

"Weather reports advised that it was very cold in Perth and my dressing gown, in which I was to travel, was not warm enough for the trip.  I asked my young friend if she could try to find me a warm gown and, despite the fact that nobody needs warm gowns in Darwin, she searched all the shops and, the evening before I left for home, her husband came along with a most attractive warm gown which was ideal and which is always admired.  She did not come herself because she said she would have cried, but she sent me along two small parting gifts - a tiny koala and a pretty coral ornament.  She has now gone to Queensland, and the last letter I had from her was as she was leaving Darwin.

Before I left Darwin I had asked Peg (Margaret) to arrange for me to have a part-time housekeeper from Perth Emergency Housekeeping Service, (I thought if mum wasn't entitled to one then I don't know who was!) and to ask Silver Chain Nursing Service to call daily to dress my wound which was still needing care.

The 'plane trip was excellent and I lacked for nothing.  The family met me and came home to spend a pleasant couple of hours together, so that I could tell them all together about the trip and the accident.

There was a stack of mail waiting, including the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal with which I had been presented while away, and as Peg was given the job of opening the mail, the medal was passed around before I got to see it myself. (I also have this medal tucked away with mum's MBE)

Once more cards and flowers arrived to welcome me home1  I was thoroughly spoilt and realised, once again, that it is in time of need that one finds one's true friends.

Although I missed seeing Kununurra and some of the north of Western Australia, I very much enjoyed the tour.  It is necessary to travel through the centre of Australia to realise the vast outback of the country in which we live, and to appreciate the early explorers and their courage.  (Mum had  travelled to the north of Western Australia on a previous bus trip but but they didn't go as far as Kununurra).

The bus drivers were most kind and considerate, and our fellow travellers, both men and women, were friendly and excellent companions.  When I was taken ill they sent me a "Get Well" card to Darwin Hospital signed by them all.

Much as I regret the accident. I did experience the wonderful Flying Doctor Service and the warmth and kindess of everybody during my stay in Darwin  Unfortunately I still have some disabilities from both accidents for which there appears to be no remedy.

 Looking back I realise that I was fortunate enough to live a fantastic and full life from my early days and am now, nearly 84, writing some of the outstanding parts which may be of interest later to my children and grandchildren, and even to the people with whom I have been associated in welfare.

Oliver Wendel Holmes said:  "Man is an omnibus in which all his ancestors ride"

My life is now drawing to a close but, as a Justice of the Peace, I am fortunate that I am of use in Joondanna Village and the adjacent district.  Many people draw on my general knowledge and treat me as the local Citizens Advice Bureau when they have problems.

To those I leave behind may I quote the following verse, which still spurs me on when I am slow to move:-

"The clock of life is wound but once
And no man knows when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time we own
Live, love and work with a will;
Place no faith in tomorrow
For the hands may then be still"."

 I know it sounds silly but I just sat and cried when I typed the last few lines of mum's book.  It may be thirty years since she left us but I still miss her so much.  It was almost like saying goodbye to her all over again. She and I may not have always agreed on everything but I can honestly say we never once had cross words.  She was a wonderful mother to me throughout the years and, even though I am now 83, there are still times I need her.  Having related  her story word for word it has brought her much closer to me again.  I hope anyone who has followed her story has really enjoyed it and I thank you for your patience.  I have thoroughly enjoyed re-living all those years again.  I am next going to follow on in my own clumsy fashion and tell of mum's final years and beyond.  I hope you will stay with me.

N.B.  You will note the first line of the above poem says 'THE CLOCK OF LIFE" and not "The Clock of Time" so why Access Press decided on the latter for the title of the book beats me.  I still think "From Adventurous Pom to Dinkum Aussie" would have been the better title.  Incidentally, it was while mum was watching the Commonwealth Games when they were held in New Zealand, and Australia and England were neck and neck that mum found herself barracking for Australia.  It was then, she told me, she knew she was now definitely a 'dinkum Aussie'.  I feel this country had done a lot for her and she in return had done a lot for it.


  1. She certainly was a "jewel in the crown" of Western Australia. Thank you so much for sharing your mum's book with us. It has been a real pleasure to meet her and discover her magnificent contributions to our community.

    1. Thank you so much Tez and I am so glad you have enjoyed this story. It was a labour of love for me and while doing this I re-lived so many events again.

  2. Hari OM
    Oh Mimsie, only now the tears? I think you have done mother proud and these could not be begrudged! The verse is one of my all time favourites and now the title makes some sense; but yes the other some how seems more fitting. Publishers can be very pernickety things! Bless you for honouring her this way and leaving the legacy where others will now see what may otherwise have been lost. YAM xx

    1. Thank you Yam. Yes a few tears were shed along the way as I remembered paritcularly personal moments.
      I too love that verse and I agree that publishers can be strange people at times.
      As said above this has been a labour of love and I can only thank those people who have followed the story for their patience and kind words. xx

  3. Those final few lines are a very fitting end to such a tale. I'm very glad your mum came home to help and caring, she earned it after all those years packing so much life and energy into project after project.

    1. They are such wise words and we should all remember them as we go about our daily lives.
      She was much loved by all her family and we are certainly all very proud of her, not only what she did for the welfare of others, but also how good she was to all of us as well.

  4. Echoing River. Your mama was a star and an inspiration. And of course you miss her. Each and every day.
    Interestingly my mother never barracked for Australia when the UK was in the game... I suspect part of her never accepted it as home.

    1. I do miss her and I also miss my dad. He was such a different person to mum and I loved them both in a different way.
      It would have been the 1974 games held in Christchurch and by that time she had been in Australia for over 50 years. Although mum still called England 'home' when she spoke of the 'old country' she had accepted Australia as her real home. That at least is how I see it.

  5. Mimsie, your writings of your Mum's life, trials and tribulations revealed her accomplishments but more importantly her spirit and your love!...:)JP

    1. Thank you for your very kind comments JP.
      I have so enjoyed sharing her book with everybody and so glad they enjoyed reading about her interesting life. She is well known historically for her work in social welfare so her name lives on in important places as well. I often enjoy 'googling' her name to see what comes up and there is always something of interest.

  6. Your Mom was an amazing woman and I have enjoyed reading her story in her own words. Looking forward to hearing your version of the last years.