Margaret Harris (nee Stewart)

Margaret Kathleen Mary Harris (nee Stewart) was born in Berry in 1951. Her father was Albert George ‘Linky’ Stewart (named after the jockey Lincoln Bar) and mother Leah Violet (nee Bond). Margaret’s paternal grandmother was Edith Pittman, born in Batemans Bay and her paternal grandfather was Leslie Stewart who lived in Batemans Bay. Margaret is one of eight children, fifth in line with four elder sisters.

Margaret left Berry at 8 months old, to live with her father’s family in Bega where there was a sawmill and plenty of pea paddocks. Margaret attended Bega Public School and later lived at Stony Creek, Nerrigundah, and Moruya. At aged 15, 1966 the family moved to Kempsey, staying there until 1969, moving to Sydney, and then back to Moruya in 1982.

In 1960 when the family moved to Stony Creek to follow the sawmill work, Margaret attended Bodalla Public School. The family lived at Stony Creek, in sawmill workers accommodation for four years. In 1965 the family moved to Nerrigundah, which was to become, according to Margaret ‘the best part of my life……in the middle of nowhere’. At Nerrigundah the family lived in the sawmill houses, as her father continued to work as a benchman. When at Nerrigundah, Margaret attended the one-room Nerrigundah School.

On weekends and during school holidays Margaret and her parents would go to Mystery Bay to camp with their extended family. They would travel there in a taxi Friday afternoon and be collected Sunday evening. They would hang a tarp between two trees and feed off the sea. They ate bimbulla sandwiches, curried or rissole muttonfish. They would also visit the Stewart family at Mummuga Lake.

In the late 1960s when the family moved to Moruya, they initially camped in a tent behind the present day Shell Depot, close to the Booth Mill. After being flooded out in mid 1960s, the family relocated to the mill house at 23 Hawdon St. The mill house was clad in rough sawn timber, painted with creosote. Margaret also recalls expeditions to Ryans Creek and Kiora in Moryua, collecting shellfish and swimming in the Moruya / Deua River. Margaret continues to live in Moruya today.

Excerpt from Stories About the Eurobodalla by Aboriginal People, 2006. Story Contributed by Martin Ind from Moruya High School.