PostHeaderIcon Doreen's little musings

I was being interviewed on radio by John Harcourt. All about Sex in Your Seventies. He said I must be good for a bit of advice on what makes for a happy marriage. I had to think quickly, and this is what I said:
Respect your spouse for the person he/she is. Try to look at the world through his/her eyes.

Be affectionate. If you cannot touch your spouse on the arm in the kitchen, there is not much hope for you in the bedroom.

I remember my grandmother’s words ... she said she disobeyed the words of the Bible in her marriage. Shock! Horror! She was so pious! ‘How, Grandma?’
‘I did not submit to my husband!’
We all knew my grandfather was a lusty man, and that they had had six children in as many years.
‘Whatever did you do, Grandma?’
Spreading her arms wide, she chortled, ‘I said “Come to me darling!”’ And that’s not submitting!?


I went to Movieworld for a day out, with a friend called Richard, a bit of a devil. He suggested we try being Superheroes, at a price! So we donned the appropriate capes, shoes etc, the result being a video of the pair of us flying over Surfer’s Paradise as Superman and Superwoman. We swoop and dive as the wind blows my hair from my face, the crowd below following our course through the sky. Richard tells me to look down and I exhibit fear at the prospect. I wish I had held my tummy in a bit more, but we leave our viewers with kisses blown as we are whisked into the stratosphere!

I was chosen 'Mrs Logan Village' at the last ball to be held in the local hall. This building was built by the farmers of the district in 1933, my father, Harry Wendt, being one of those men. They gave up one Sunday a month to construct the hall.

When the hall was opened, I would have been five years old. Little did my parents dream that some seventy-one years later, their little girl would be selected to wear the sash proclaiming her ‘Mrs Logan Village, 2004’. I was seventy-seven, probably the oldest to even win such a title.

Mrs Logan Village 2004


I entered a competition to gain selection for a book titled ‘Songs of the Unsung heroes’, to be about women in this state who should have had their stories told. I entered the tale of my grandmother, who had come from Germany as a girl, her parents having lost three children in a month to diphtheria, the oldest at eleven, and the baby and the toddler. Grandma was three, the youngest remaining. The family settled at Buccan, on the Logan, in 1884. They were wiped out by the disastrous flood of 1887, but worked on to prosper. My grandmother had contracted small-pox as a baby, and her skin was pockmarked as a result. However, she attracted the eye of a handsome farmer from across the river, Hermann Wendt, they married and worked the farm at Buccan, where I later lived as a child.

I also entered a poem, ‘I Remember The Apron’, which I had written when at University, and which had won a poetry competition there, first prize being $300! It was about an aboriginal lady whose three daughters had been removed from her side in about 1910. She was heartbroken, and throughout the farewells and her subsequent grieving, she had kept her tear-stained apron on. When in her eighties, one of the daughters had featured in a video telling of the episode when they were ‘stolen’. She was a lovely old lady, and I could not forget her. I wrote the poem for her.

Out of hundreds of entries across Australia, both of mine were accepted for publication. I was thrilled, of course, even though I was really after the first prize of $1000, which would have gone towards my Uni fees. However, a wonderful adventure was to follow as a result.

I was asked, along with the other authors, if I could travel to Barcaldine for the opening of that part of the huge Heritage Centre that was devoted to the women who had helped pioneer the State of Queensland. The anthology was being launched there, and would I speak at this event (following Margaret Whitlam, who launched the book)? My job was to promote the anthology, ensuring sales. I did my best, and told of my grandmother’s journey, how her mother had begged little three year old Berthe to suckle her breasts when the two young siblings had died. The mother had been either pregnant or breast feeding for twelve years, and now...nothing! Her breasts were so engorged from waiting milk, the pain was so intense, that suckling was the only relief. I knew I had my audience of some thousands in the palm of my hand, as I spoke from the raised platform overlooking the lake and gardens where were gathered, sitting on the grass, the milling throng of politicians from every state, dignitaries and interested folk. You could have heard a pin drop as I narrated the story. I must have succeeded, because the book was a sell-out!

When I announced that I was going to Barcaldine for a week, my youngest daughter, Katy, said she thought she should come with me. We did it in style. We had a sleeper on the train, which is quite expensive, our own suite. We had wonderful meals in the dining-car. But the best part of it was discovering on the same train, the bush band that had been hired for the festivities. We were recognised by Morrie, a guitarist, who had been the boyfriend of my oldest daughter, Susan, twenty years before. Katy and I became ‘groupies’.

We were staying at an old pub, The Commercial, in the main street, opposite the railway station. The boys in the band were staying up the road at another old pub. Wherever they were playing, that’s where we were! We danced, sang and took part in the fun. I played the tambourine with them so vigorously that my hand was bruised for days.

Our room had a washbasin, no wardrobe, just a nail or two on the wall, no dressing table, just a chair. No windows, just French doors opening to the long verandah. The door to the hallway had no lock, so we pushed one bed across the closed door, keeping the French doors secure with our suitcases and the chair. It was very hot during the day, but freezing at night. We heard strange noises during the small hours, comings and goings that puzzled us no end. It was only when we investigated the inner courtyard that we saw the red light over the door of the room opposite ours, which explained the nocturnal movements.

One of the authors was a charming, vibrant lady from Western Australia, Connie. She introduced herself to us on the train, indicating her right eye, which had been removed. In its place, over the socket, on the outside was placed a painted eye, complete with lashes. It looked pretty good. She took a fancy to Katy, who, at the time, shared her love for a beer and a smoke! They could often be seen together at Barcaldine, with Connie giving the orders, ‘Come on Katy, get us another couple of beers!’ or, ‘Where are your ciggies, Katy? Got one to spare? I’ve run out!’

Katy was a hit with Margaret Whitlam also. The latter and I would be sitting chatting at a reception, and Katy would hover, asking politely, ‘Can I get you another claret, Margaret?’

The Tree of Knowledge was still alive then. We absolutely loved Barcaldine and the people of the West.