It would be easy to walk into our local pre-loved shop and think it is just an opportunity to grab a bargain. But one person has made it a lot more than that! Meet Dawn. As we sit under the trees sharing a pot of tea, Dawn recalls how she came to Murchison, her involvement with the community, and memories that span a lifetime.Story by Juliet Palmer
As a well-known local, did you grow up in Murchison?
No, I came to Murchison 24 years ago, to marry the man I still love as we’ve grown older together. We got married under a 200 year old tree on his property, and there were over 70 guests attendance.
Wow! Obviously you were already making connections within the community. How did you get involved in those early years after moving to Murchison?
I found it easy to get to know those around me better because worked in the nursing home, and helped out with activities for the local youth. I love simply sharing stories of times gone by over a cup of tea; there is so much history to learn of a place or peoples lives by doing this.
How long have you volunteered in the Murchison pre- loved shop?
I’ve worked here for 14 years. In that time I’ve made many good friends, seen families grow, some stay, some move on, and I try to help those who need it most. they might need a food parcel or just a kind word.
You’ve had a very busy community life. How do you unwind?
I love reading, particularly of autobiographies. I always enjoy spare time at home, and being on a 40 acre property makes it easy to get away from it all! I’ve always been an animal lover. I have the perfect place to watch the wildlife and farm animals. I did have 2 Jack Russels that were very old. Now I love the opportunity look after my granddaughter’s Pomeranian.
You have very strong family bonds. What are some of your happiest memories?
We had family gatherings at my home in Diamond Creek, where I raised my two boys. I can remember fondly the Sunday afternoons when all the extended family would come over for a cuppa. We’d watch the children play under the shady trees and talk about life. I had an enormous 17 cup teapot, very well used on those days, and the oven was never free of scones!
What has driven your love of helping others?
I was the oldest of 6 children, and those early years were not the easiest. Our family had fallen on hard times, and all the siblings were unfortunately broken up and put into care. But I never lost hope. As soon as I was 15 and able to work, the Salvation Army helped me find my brothers and sisters and provide a better life for them.
What do you love about our town?
I’ve travelled extensively around Australia, and I can think of no better place to be than Murchison. Why would I want to live any where else? It’s a lovely small town, right on the riverbank and the people are friendly.
What are some of the things you would like to see happen in Murchison in the future?
I want to see more activities for teenagers, a skate park would be great! And also a self service food store. There is a large population of people in the town who have no reliable transport to go anywhere else for there groceries.
Have you thought about slowing down?
Goodness! I hope not! It’s more of a pleasure than a job. My reward is the smile of recognition of those I have lend a hand to.
With a warm and friendly smile, a listening ear, or the source of many a good yarn, Dawn has found her way into the hearts of many. It is perhaps those early hardships and meagre beginnings that have compelled this lovely lady to give back so much to her community and help others get back on their feet. Although now, the 17 cup tea pot has given way to tea bags, Dawn sits under the shady tree enjoying a hot cup of tea in the autumn mornings. Her resilience, open heart and wise eyes attract all those who pass by, and before long a friendly chat follows. Dawn is at the Murchison Pre-loved shop every Monday and Saturday morning, so come down and meet one of our most unsung heroes, grab a bargain or just have a cuppa.