Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Brush with Royalty; Winnie Jones, the Iconic 1936 Jacaranda Princess Lived a Far from Regal Life

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Brush with Royalty; Winnie Jones, the Iconic 1936 Jacaranda Princess Lived a Far from Regal Life

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Matthews

WINNIE Durrington (nee Jones) was six-years-old when she was awarded the title of Grafton's Jacaranda Princess.

The year was 1936 and the photograph which was taken to commemorate the event has become one of the city's iconic images and featured in the SBS television production "Once a Queen".

Earlier this week Winnie was remembered by her family and friends at a graveside service following her death on August 14.

She was 84.

In her eulogy, prepared and read by her son John Durrington, the circumstances of Winnie's difficult childhood were remembered.

"She had a hard life," John said.

"She was brought up during the Depression years and deserted by her parents who could not afford to keep her.

"At the age of two she was put in the care of a very hard woman."

When she was around nine years old the family moved into tin shacks across the river from Wooli, a place now called Jones' Beach.

Each day Winnie would row up and down the river, back and forth to school at Wooli.

After school she collected vegetables grown in the family's plot and then she would row back into town to walk the streets and sell them.

If she was late or short of money she would cop a whipping.

Later the family moved up to Dalmorton to operate a gold mine where they camped in tents on the side of a hill.

In the middle of winter they would put heated rocks under their bedding to try and stay warm but these would soon slip out.

The family moved back to Grafton where they lived on the corner of Queen and Pound Street, but still kept the shacks at Wooli.

"By the age of 19 she had met and wanted to marry our father Fred. When it came to the day of the wedding at the court house Fred had to be forced to get out of the car as he had gotten cold feet, but she loved him through hell and high water and waited on him hand and foot but never received the same love in return except for two bouncing baby boys. …

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