Mary remembers a lifetime of fun
  • Much-loved Bridport resident Mary Coote on the balcony of her Bridport home.

• Much-loved Bridport resident Mary Coote on the balcony of her Bridport home.

By Daisy Baker,
28 February, 2018

In her 82 years of life, much-loved Bridport resident Mary Coote has tried her hand at many professions and hobbies.
She moved to Bridport with her husband Kevin in 1985 when he left the army.
They bought a farm overlooking the Bridport airstrip, which Mrs Coote says had a ‘glorious view’.
She spent her first year working at Roberts selling houses, before working at the North Eastern Advertiser for three years.
Mrs Coote says these two positions helped her to settle into the community.
“While I was working in real estate I got to know the district and then working at the Advertiser I got to know the people of Scottsdale,” Mrs Coote says.
“Later I worked in the Bridport surgery for 23 years and while I was there I got to know virtually everyone in Bridport.
“It’s such a lovely community.”
During her years at the Advertiser, Mrs Coote says she got to know all facets of the job.
“I was there during the transition into computers and that was a really interesting time,” she says.
Beyond Mrs Coote’s working life, she’s also been an active member of the North-East community for decades, including teaching line dancing, playing in the Scottsdale ukulele group, serving as a Justice of the Peace and playing music with New Horizons day centre group.
“I used to take my organ to New Horizons every Monday and I’d teach them songs,” she remembers.
“There was one year and I taught them Christmas songs and I printed t-shirts for them and they performed at their Christmas celebration.
“That was really nice because usually they would just sing along to the carols while they sat in the audience, but that year they were the show.”
Mrs Coote’s creativity didn’t stop with printing t-shirts – she also taught calligraphy and hand-wrote the books for Gaye’s funerals, a tradition she says has now been replaced with computer-generated designs.
She says she’s not talented but adaptable.
Mrs Coote is now the full-time carer for Kevin who has Parkinson’s Disease but she says they make an effort to get out and support local events when they can.
She says it is her ‘wacky sense of humour’ that has kept her going over the years.
“If I was going to give a child one gift, it would be a sense of humour because that can really help you make light of difficult times.”

A telling story after 45 years in business
  • Norma and Lindsay Petterwood celebrated 45 years in business this week, after purchasing the North-East Jewellers in January 1973. 

• Norma and Lindsay Petterwood celebrated 45 years in business this week, after purchasing the North-East Jewellers in January 1973. 

By Taylor Clyne
24 January, 2018

THIS week owners of the North-East Jewellers in Scottsdale, Norma and Lindsay Petterwood celebrated 45 years in business, a milestone that few can beat.
To celebrate the memorable moments and thank their loyal customers, the couple hosted a birthday party instore on Monday where more than 120 people attended to commemorate their success.
Norma and Lindsay both grew up in Ringarooma and once they were married, the pair moved into the house that used to be next to the Jewellers building on King Street.
“We lived there for two years before we purchased our own home. During that time I used to work as a casual at the Jewellers when Dudley and Betty Last owned it,” Norma said.
It was January of 1973 when Norma and Lindsay purchased it from the Lasts with just $10,000 worth of stock and a new beginning.
“I had a bit of bookkeeping knowledge, but I never thought I would buy my own business,” Norma explained.
The original shop consisted of giftware, jewellery, silk and textiles, of which Norma said she continued with the silk and textiles for a further five years before they phased out.
“During that time, we placed an archway into the old hairdressing salon that used to adjoin the back of the building and doubled the size of the shop.”
In 1993 the couple purchased the building that the business was housed inside and doubled the shop size once again. 
“We fashioned the new part of the shop on the wholesale businesses in Melbourne so that areas were sectioned off to display different ranges.
“At that stage we went into lamps, prints and interior design.”
During the time that they opened the new extension in Scottsdale, the pair also expanded their business to open a sister store in St Helens.
“That was run by my daughter Karen, in conjunction with the North-East Jewellers.
“We had that store for ten years before she moved interstate.”
For decades Norma has filled her stores with thousands of items, both fashionable and functional.
She remembers, in the beginning, travelling to Launceston and viewing wholesale travellers’ stalls with buying stock.
“We then used to go to Melbourne and spend time visiting up to 14 warehouses in one day.
“When the big trade fairs opened in Melbourne we started visiting those for a couple of days every six months, which allowed us to see a larger product number,” Norma said.
Norma and Lindsay have also been overseas buying diamonds in Antwerp twice, something they described as a ‘wonderful experience’. 
When asked what the secret to a long business career, Norma said simply ‘having really good employees and loyal customers’.
I’m sure there was a little bit of hard work thrown into the mix too.
“Over the years I’ve had great employees, to start off it was only myself and Del Watson, I worked with her for 10 years.
“Now I’m lucky to have Laura Brown-Fleming, Dinah Hall, Jodie Crack and Beth Thomas. Their support is excellent.”   
And asking of husband Lindsay’s involvement in the day to day life inside the shop, Norma laughs saying, 
“Lindsay used to come and work at Christmas every year. He entertained the customers so much that they forgot what they came for!”
The couple, who have been married for 54 years, don’t have any immediate plans of retiring.
“I enjoy doing what I do, we might just add a bit of extra recreational time,” Norma said.

Ethel remembers a simpler time
  Ethel Clark in her Scottsdale home.

Ethel Clark in her Scottsdale home.

By Daisy Baker
January 10, 2018

ETHEL Clark remembers a time before electricity, cars and mobile phones, a simpler time when children made their own fun. 
Mrs Clark says she has crammed a lot into her 96 years, throughout all of which she has lived in
the North-East.
She was born at Telita, which at the time was called Ayr, and raised on her family’s farm. 
“At Telita, they had a school, hall, railway, post office and butchery so it was a community within itself with probably 100 or so residents,” Mrs Clark remembers.
“If someone came to Telita to visit my mum from Winnaleah say, the train would drop them off in the paddock so they didn’t have to walk back from the station.
“It’s still beautiful up there but it has changed over all the years.”
Mrs Clark says she remembers the days of the horse and cart and when power came in. 
“Before that everyone had their fuel stove and kerosene lights and candles,” she reminisces.
“They didn’t have tractors then either – it was just draught horses to plough the ground.”
She recalls the tragic Derby flood of 1929, which happened when she was eight years old. 
Mrs Clark went to school in her hometown until she was about 14 and continued to live in the area for another ten years.
“I met my husband Charles just after the war and we moved down to Ulverstone for a while before coming back up to the [North-East] coast,” she says.
“When we came back he was an electric motor driver on the Briseis mine at Derby.
“After that, we bought a farm at Winnaleah and I lived there in the same house for about 60 years.”
Mrs Clark says she loved attending country dances in her youth and was an active member of the Winnaleah church in the years she lived there.
She says she didn’t really like the farm life but with three small children there were plenty of other jobs keeping her busy around the home, including knitting clothes for her children.
“When I was about 15 my aunty said, ‘I think it’s about time you learnt how to make your own clothes’ so from then on she would cut the fabric out and I would sew them.”
Decades later, with fingers slightly less nimble and eyes not quite as sharp, Mrs Clark still enjoys crocheting and embroidering tablecloths and towels. 
Mrs Clark moved to her current Scottsdale home around five years ago and keeps herself busy crafting with friends at the Day centre at Gladstone.

Jock Waters: A true town treasure
  • Jock Waters enjoying a cup of tea and a biscuit while chatting to our reporter about his career. 

• Jock Waters enjoying a cup of tea and a biscuit while chatting to our reporter about his career. 

  • Jock loading the herd samples after a morning milking; a routine he's mastered over 53 years. 

• Jock loading the herd samples after a morning milking; a routine he's mastered over 53 years. 


By Taylor Clyne
December 20, 2017

Jock Waters is by all accounts a treasure to the North-East farming community. Nearing his 90th birthday next March Jock is still working as a herd tester for local dairy farmers, a job he’s been undertaking for more than 53 years.
Jock’s story is not quite like any other.
His quiet and unassuming nature, alongside his thick Scottish accent, has been embedded in the history of dairy farms and families for generations.
Jock’s acute memory makes telling his story easy, as we delve into his life over a cup of tea and a biscuit at the kitchen table, a tradition he’s undertaken with many families before myself.
Jock left the Orkney Islands where he was born to seek an adventure in Tasmania. As he remembers, he was to spend a fortnight holidaying here before returning home.
But, as all stories begin, Jock met a girl.
“I just rang and told them [his family] that I wasn’t coming back.
“I remember thinking this is the end of the bloody world,” he said.
Whilst the lady didn’t last long, Jock’s new life in Tasmania did.
During the late 50s and early 60s he worked as a station hand at Cape Portland, sowing and working paddocks.
“The first paddock that I ploughed when I came to the North-East is where the Rushy Lagoon dairy is now positioned,” Jock remembers.
It was in Cape Portland that Jock acquired the name that everybody now knows him for, because surprisingly his real name is not Jock, it's Magnus.
“I was working there one day and a fella said, ‘I’ll call you Jock,’ I replied ‘please yourself’ and it’s been that ever since,” he chuckled.
On the 14th of February 1964 Jock acquired a new job with the Department of Agriculture as a herd tester, testing the milk of every dairy cow for fat and protein content.
“That was when money changed.
“When I started working there I got 20 quid one week and the next week I got 40 dollars.
“I guess you could say a lot has changed.”
Jock remembers when he started it was just, mum, dad and the kids on the farms.
“Farms used to have between 40-60 milking cows. I remember looking down the lane on Wagner’s farm where they milked 166 cows thinking the line doesn’t end.
“That used to be the biggest mob and I thought they were mad!” Jock recalls.
Now the average farm has between 400-800 cows, with Jock’s largest current dairy to test being Stan and Geoff Cox’s at Ringarooma with 1100 cows.
Jock’s longstanding position as a herd tester is a vital part of the daily production on dairy farms. The job, described in the most basic form, captures individual milk samples from each dairy cow to undertake a cell count and give stats on the protein and fat contents.
The cell count, arguably the most important aspect of the sample, alerts farmers to bacteria traces in the milk.
Back in the day, Jock used to herd test 28 days a month, writing on each sample by hand.
“Back then I used to have to take two samples, one from a morning milking and one from a night milking,” Jock explained.
Here began the tradition of Jock sharing a hot meal with families on the farm and staying the night at their houses for his early morning shift in the dairy.
Jock essentially socialised with a different group every night of the week and has been dubbed the best-fed man in the North-East.
“I remember Jack Smith used to stay up talking all night long, well past midnight, and then amazed me that he’d be up at 4AM ready to go.
“I’ve seen it all, the good times and the bad times.
“I watched kids grow up - some amazed me that they turned into decent citizens,” Jock laughed.
When technology modernised to only require one herd test per farm a month, the tradition of having Jock stay for a hot meal continued.
“It’s a good place to live and the people are very important.
“They’ve always invited me in for a drink, and that's made all the difference,” Jock said.
Long-time Winnaleah farmers, Don and Elvie Steel remember his time with their family fondly,
“My first memory of Jock is of his thick Scottish accent - not many can understand him,” Don said.
“He’s always been dedicated to his work and he's very reliable.
“Lots of families call him Uncle Jock. He’s seen our children grow up and then seen their children grow up.
“He is the best-fed person in the North-East. Our kids used to say, ‘Jock must be coming tonight if we have desserts’.”
Don recalls one time Jock had his nephew over from Scotland to stay with him,
“While he was here he lost his sock in Jock’s house, then he came back years later and found it again!”
“I guess he didn’t spring clean regularly,” Don chuckled.
Like many people could relate, Jock has always ‘just been there.’
“We love and admire him like part of the family,” Elvie said.
In Jock’s younger days he liked to go fishing at Anson’s Bay with the locals.
“A few of us used to go out there, Geoff O’Halloran, Merv Forsyth and those guys.
“It didn’t matter when you wanted to go, they were always ready.”
More recently Jock returned home to Scotland to visit his surviving siblings in the Orkney Islands.
“I went back to visit my four sisters - they are all in their 80s. I also have two brothers who are deceased now.”
Returning back to what Jock describes as his ‘real home’ in Branxholm, he explains that he feels like he belongs here more than anywhere else.
“The farmers are my family now.”
As for the secret to a long life, Jock said he puts his good health down to good food and a bit of good luck!
Congratulations on an amazing working career, you truly are a town treasure Jock Waters.

Bridport twins celebrate milestone
  Colin Lovegrove and his twin sister June Gillespie.

Colin Lovegrove and his twin sister June Gillespie.

By Daisy Baker
June 14, 2017

Well-known Bridport twins June Gillespie and Colin Lovegrove celebrated their 80th birthday on Sunday in the company of more than 100 family and friends.
The twins and their seven siblings were raised in Bridport, where they have resided all their lives. 
Mrs Gillespie said she enjoyed growing up as a twin and has had a close relationship with her brother since they were young.
“We’ve always got on pretty well and our families have always been pretty close,” Mrs Gillespie said.
“It was wonderful growing up together. You don’t see [such close families] very often anymore.”
With 55 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren between them, there is no shortage of company.
Mrs Gillespie said her house is often full of children and grandchildren, especially the grandchildren who enjoy staying with her during school holidays.
“You couldn’t ask for two better families. All our family and all of June’s – It’s just brilliant,” Mr Lovegrove said. 
The twins said they have fond memories of trips to the beach close to their childhood home, where they would collect periwinkles to cook and eat. Mrs Gillespie says they were delicious.
They also enjoyed riding their billycarts down Emma Street, which they said had far less traffic in days gone by.
As a young woman, Mrs Gillespie worked at the Bridport Hotel until she got married.
“I was married at 18 and had seven children. I have 20 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren and there are more to come this year,” she said.
“Her husband and I were like brothers,” Mr Lovegrove said fondly.
Mr Lovegrove said he began his working life working at Oscar Jones’ farm at Ferny Hill.
“After that I worked at Jim Wadley’s mill and then they moved it up to where it is now at Gillespie’s Mill,” he said.
“I also worked as the lands department officer at Barnbougle for 22 years.
“When I first started working there we were renting a house along the Scottsdale Road near where the sale yards were. I used to walk to work (I never had a bike) through the wet paddocks out to work every morning and I was getting five pound ten a week and we were paying two pound a week in rent.”
Congratulations to the twins on 80 eventful years!