Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Mary Led the Tweed in Song; DEATHS

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Mary Led the Tweed in Song; DEATHS

Article excerpt

Mary Maureen Bartrim, the first child of Janet Bartrim (nee Stewart) and Arthur Bartrim, passed away peacefully in Murwillumbah on March 12 after a short illness. She will be remembered for the enthusiasm she brought to the many interests she pursued during a fulfilling life. Whether tending her own extensive garden, decorating cakes, playing music or leading a sing-a-long, she always entered wholeheartedly into the activity. A lifelong "battler", Mary overcame the obstacles life put in her way with an intact sense of humour.

Born in the Roma Hospital corner of Ewing and York St, Murwillumbah, on December 21, 1925, Mary spent her early years on the family dairy farm at South Pumpenbil, where Arthur Bartrim milked cows and operated a cream run with the help of his brother Ted.

The farm, under The Pinnacle, had been wilderness only 15 years before and Mary remembered the only passing traffic was the occasional bullock team heading up into the hills for a load of cedar.

Mary's grandmother Mary-Jane Stewart (nee Bulley) and her husband William J Stewart had brought the Church of Christ's faith to the Bray's Creek/Tyalgum area, co-founding a chapter of the church in 1908 and enthusiastically witnessing to others in the valley. This style of religion was to have a profound influence on Mary's life, giving spiritual sustenance through hard times and providing a focus to her many community activities.

The family quickly grew and Arthur left Pumpenbil, first dairying north of Murwillumbah and then farming sugarcane at Condong.

Explaining the relative poverty of her family's early life Mary related the tale of how her mother enlisted her to sing very loudly to drown out the ringing bell of the approaching ice-cream van, which passed by their house on the Pacific Highway each day. This was so the younger children didn't hear the bell and demand an ice-cream that the family could not afford.

This was good training for Mary's later ability to sing with enthusiastic abandon, and may explain why her grandkids always had an enormous helping of ice-cream whenever they dropped by.

The Bartrim family grew to seven children: Mary, Arthur ('Wick'), Rodney, Don, Colin, Ian and Joy in the house Arthur had built at Condong.

The hard life of establishing a successful farm took its toll on her parents, and Mary was not spared. Education beyond sixth grade was considered "a lot of rot", according to her father, and she was taken out of school to help look after the rapidly-growing family, becoming a surrogate mother to the younger children, Ian and Joy.

But it wasn't all hard labour and a young John Partland one day appeared on his bicycle, drawn to the excitement offered by a large fun-loving family who had somehow conjured a tennis court on the side of the hill. John and Mary became occasional partners on the court and Mary proved she was a good sport by allowing John to take her for a swing over the valley in a Tiger Moth biplane. …

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