Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Family Minnie's Pride, Joy; Well Known, Respected in Community

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Family Minnie's Pride, Joy; Well Known, Respected in Community

Article excerpt

WELL-KNOWN Hervey Bay resident and one of the area's last links to the Solomon Islanders, who came to harvest Queensland's sugar cane, Mary Johnson died in hospital at Maryborough.

Mary was remembered fondly as a wife, a mother, an aunt, sister, cousin, nana, friend and neighbour.

Mary Catherine Byquar was born in Nambour on March 21, 1927, the fourth child of Louie Daniel and Mary Eliza Byquar, descendants of original Kanakas. Regrettably, Louie had died four months earlier, so he never got to see his baby daughter. No doubt he would have been extremely proud of her, as he was her siblings Daniel, Lillian and Ernie.

In May of 1927, Mary's mother, now a widow with four young children, was encouraged by her mother-in-law, Lillian Byquar, to resettle to Hervey Bay.

At three months of age Mary joined her extended family at Urraween as part of a South Sea Islander community, where she was bestowed with the nickname Minnie.

Mary was a child of The Great Depression and that no doubt impacted her early life and forged her personal values that would serve her well into the future

She attended Pialba State School and regularly attended church with her family.

In an era when careers for women were very limited, Mary was employed by the Murphy family to perform domestic duties and nanny their children.

Mary's life as an adolescent revolved around family; she enjoyed music and was regarded as a good dancer.

At the end of January 1946, a new man arrived in town and the first girl he met was Mary.

A young George Johnson took a train from Lowmead and disembarked at Pialba. He walked into a local cafA[c] and there they met. They started dating and were married at the Methodist Church, Pialba, on August 14, 1948.

Their union completed a unique double as George's only brother Bob had married Mary's only sister Lil some years earlier.

Mary and George were blessed with a long marriage full of happiness, challenges, triumphs and tragedies. …

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