Margaret Jane Ann Maxwell (nee Johnston)
|First name||Margaret Jane Ann|
|Last name||Maxwell (nee Johnston)|
|Country of Origin||Scotland|
|Date of Birth||11 Sept 1885|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1911|
|Submitted by||Leilani Munday|
We don’t know the reason our Grandmother at 25yrs left her native land and sailed on the “SS Otranto” to Fremantle, West Australia. Her Mother and siblings emigrated to Canada a short time later. Life in Scotland would have been tough for a working class family with nine children and the Dad not living at home with them. So from Perth, Scotland to Perth, West Australia she came.
She would have stayed at the Immigration Hostel for a while and then as she was a hard worker, would have quickly found a domestic job. Being an auburn haired, blue eyed, petite 5’2″ Scottish lass she soon met and married a tall, dark Aussie, hairdresser named William Thornley Maxwell.
They had 6 children over 11 yrs and those years weren’t “a bed of roses”. Will volunteered to join up in WW1 and before long was in the trauma of the Middle East and France. On returning home Will would have found it hard settling into a family life but built his family a house and had many jobs. His last was prospecting at Kalgoorlie where he died.
Maggie, or Nana now to us grandkids, was forever working hard, either washing, starching and ironing other peoples laundry at home or walking miles to domestic cleaning jobs. Always providing the family with a meal on the table even if it was only dumplings and gravy! She always carried on a few Scottish “old wives tales” – don’t put shoes on the table – never cut your finger nails on Sunday – dont bring Wattle or Arrum lilies into the house and of course , don’t open an umbrella in the house. We as kids thought this quite normal and never questioned these sayings.
She had a soft spot for us grandkids and when we were young we enjoyed the occasional train trip to Perth to the “pictures” in Plaza Arcade or going on the ferry across the Swan River to the Zoo. Sundays, travelling by train and bus, visiting our Aunt and Uncle’s place for dinner and us cousins getting up to mischief! All her grandkids were spread out over the state but she always managed a visit as often as she could afford.
Margaret Maxwell’s name didn’t feature in any newspaper headlines, she was just one of many just like her who chose to make Australia their home. Life was hard and simple but Nana hadn’t known anything else. She ended her days in Undercliffe Hospital, Greenmount and died at the age of 82 yrs.
Without her courage we wouldn’t be here today enjoying our lives as she never could imagine.
Remembering our Nana, from Lani, Penny (dec), Rod (dec), Grace (dec), Marion Fay, Fred, Cheryl, Ian, Glenn, Maxine, Rosslyn and Beverley.