Doug & Olga Dunlop

Paulette’s Parents

Olga Mary Pearce was born on 20th June 1918 at St. Kilda in Victoria where her Mother had gone to stay with Olga's Aunty LilOlga Mary Dunlop (nee Pearce) at 18yrs, because Kinglake, where they lived, was too remote and difficult to get to a doctor using a "Jinker" (a horse drawn buggy) over rough country roads. She was the third child of Herbert (Bert) and Emily Pearce. Their eldest son was Len and they were also to have two younger sons, Fred and Frank.

Olga lived at Kinglake until she was 7 years of age. Some years before she died, Olga, pictured below when just a young girl, wrote of her time at Kinglake;

The wonderful smells of gum trees on very hot days, mingled with pine, reminds me of childhood days at Kinglake, when the fine soft powdered earth was like warm talc powder squelching through bare toes. I can remember the walks from my Grandfather's home to our own. Around my Grandfather's house there were always lovely tubs of ferns and bleeding heart bushes near the tanks. It was a low house, painted white, trees around a gate, really wide on the way to the barn and fowl pens. I used to swing on that gate.

My Grandfather used to wear on his legs things called Bowyangs. These were used in those days before high rubber boots and were made out of old sugar bags tied around the trousers using hay-bailing twine. The early people certainly could improvise against all sorts of things. They kept old sugar bags and potato bags in the barns. When it rained they'd poked one corner of the bag into another and form a poke-hatĚ as a cape over the head and shoulders to keep the worst of the rain off. This way they were able to work in the rain between the barns during winter. When I was about five years of age we had an extra heavy snowfall, it turned the land and trees into a fairyland for me. My Father made a snowman as tall as myself. He used potatoes for eyes, a quarter of an apple for it's mouth and an old battered hat and red scarf completed the picture-card atmosphere that it created. Next morning, after driving rain, he had almost melted away. Our own little cottage at Kinglake was very ordinary and was set back about a half mile to one mile off the road. I cant remember it as clearly as my Grandfather's house but I suppose that's because I visited there for the odd holiday between the age of 10 and 15 years.”


The family moved off the land when Olga was about 7 years of age and moved to Melbourne during the Great Depression and set up home in Raleigh St., Thornbury. They struggled financially because of the Depression and because Bert had been injured in a vehicle accident (he was run over by a double-decker bus) and was unable to find regular employment.  Olga left school at 14 to begin an apprenticeship in hairdressing.

Olga writes: “As the Depression Years had hit the whole world, much of our childhood was spent being very poor. Never enough for other than home made clothes, second hand and cut down. Food we had, but being young I never realized how hard it must have been for our parents to put food on the table. We often ate bread and dripping sandwiches.”

Doug & Olga Dunlop - Sep 1965Olga married John Douglas (Doug) Dunlop at 18. Doug was born at Brunswick on 21 January 1916 to parents Ronald Thomas Dunlop and Elizabeth Ellen Heathcote. He was the second of three sons. His two brothers, Tom and Gregory, became a magistrate and solicitor, respectively. Doug completed his education at Parade College East Melbourne. Prior to that he’d attended Assumption College, Kilmore, with his brother, Tom. When Tom finished school at Kilmore, Doug moved to Parade. Like his father, Doug initially trained in finance and accounting, working for 12 years at Dunlop Rubber in Port Melbourne. A more than useful sportsman, he was a member of the Victorian Tennis squad in 1934 -35 and played reserves football with Collingwood. Doug worked at a variety of jobs including as a butcher prior to moving the family to Albury in NSW to open a small corner grocery store.

The move to Albury was in February 1946, in a truck, together with Olga, two young sons (Anthony and John) and a baby daughter (Paulette). Olga had been pregnant for about five months in 1939 with another son between Tony and John, but sadly she lost that child as a result of a miscarriage due to a swimming accident. After John, they subsequently had two more sons (David and Gerard).

Doug suffered for many years with Parkinson's Disease, which he contracted about 1944 at the age of 28. He later contracted Polio during a Polio epidemic about 1952 when he was about 36. Paulette made her First Holy Communion on 15th August 1952 and recalls that her father was hospitalized at Albury and he could only see her dressed in her communion dress from a distance. He was hospitalized for about 9 months, most of that time at Fairfield Hospital in Melbourne. Meanwhile, Olga was persuaded to sell the business and move back to Melbourne with the children for family support. The family lived with Doug's parents for a while before they purchased a home at Mt. Eliza in 1954. Doug was invalided as a result of the polio. Because he was unable to work, Olga had to work full time to support the family. As well as this, she carried out most household chores because Doug was fairly incapacitated with leg calipers.

Tony Dunlop reminisces about his Father:

Dad used to tell us some awful yarns when we were growing up and almost invariably they'd start with a line like: When I was a Chinaman in China years and years ago, or when I was a Red Indian, so that as time went on we became a bit more knowing and a bit less gullible and finally believed he'd chopped off the top half of his left little finger when he was an apprentice butcher, not in a fight to the death with tomahawks with the Red Indians. (At least I think that was the true story. He did do his butcher's apprenticeship and his finger was half gone; but he'd also had some tree-felling experience at one stage, so it could have happened then).

I used to think his claim of having played football with Collingwood was just another of these yarns, but apparently he and Phonse Kyne both played football together with the Thornbury CYMS in the mid-1930s and they both decided to try their luck at Collingwood. The history books show, of course, that Phonse Kyne made it and eventually went on to coach Collingwood - successfully. Dad spent a season in the Magpie Seconds and after that nothing more was heard of his football career. It took me a long time to believe that much because when I was a little kid, growing up, anyone who'd genuinely worn a Collingwood Guernsey was somewhere up there practically above God and I just couldn't bring myself to believe that my own Dad had been one of them. And even though I'd spent some years in school at Strathfield with a Jimmy Kyne who claimed our Dads had been best mates (and I wasn't even a lukewarm Jimmy Kyne fan) I was probably in my 20’s and Dad possibly even suffering his final illness when this Phonse Kyne person used to come to Mt. Eliza visiting him and he even knew Mum without having to be introduced! - These things finally convinced me that Dad hadn't been having me on
.

Pine Gate



 
                                                                                                                     Pine Gate                                                                    
                                                         
The Dunlop Family Home at Mt. Eliza


Olga was widowed at 49. Doug died at the Royal Melbourne Hospital on 13 March 1968 at the age of 52 as a result of a brain tumor and was buried at the Mount Martha Cemetery. His children, who thought him a wonderful father, dearly loved Doug.

Olga moved house twice in Victoria before moving to Adelaide on 16 March 1978 to live closer to her youngest son, Gerard, and her daughter, Paulette, and their families. She lived at Maslins Beach for many years before moving to Mansfield in Victoria in 1997, then a later move to Geelong two years later.

Olga suffered from dementia in her later years, and was a resident at the Hillcrest Nursing Home in Geelong for many months before her death on 20th September 2001. Olga was cremated on Monday 24th.  Some time later, on December 3rd., her ashes were spread by her children upon the grave of her dearly loved husband, Doug, at the Mt. Martha Cemetery.

Her 5 children & their spouses, 15 grandchildren and 16 Great Grandchildren dearly loved Olga.


Children:

Anthony (Tony) Ronald (1937-)
John Gavin (1942-)
Paulette Elizabeth (1945-)
David Julian (1948-)
Gerard Martin (1950-)


At her funeral service her eldest son, Anthony (Tony) Dunlop, read the following eulogy:

                                                                                               Olga Mary Dunlop


Olga Mary Pearce was born at Kinglake on 20 June 1918 the daughter of Herbert and Emily Pearce. Although she only passed on small snippets of her life up there in the hills north east of Melbourne, it was an area that formed part of her for the rest of her life and an area that she loved always.

Her family left the farm and moved to Melbourne during the depression and set up home in Raleigh St., Thornbury. She became apprenticed to her Aunty Nell as a hairdresser after she left school and although she only received a meager 10 shillings per week, the fact that she became a hairdresser by trade was a source of quiet pride.

Shortly after that she met John Douglas Dunlop, took instructions and became a Catholic. They were married on 10th July 1937 and became proud parents down the years of, first me, then John, Paulette, David and Gerard.

Life didn't remain static though. After living with Ma & Pa Dunlop at Murray St., Thornbury, at which stage I was born, they set up their first family home at Plenty Rd., Preston where they had John and Paulette. They also met there the wonderful Mrs. Ilma Burgess - "Burgie", as she was known lovingly to all us kids. She became a pillar and a tower of strength in our Mum's life and as time passed she was certainly needed.

In 1946 they took over a corner shop in Albury and it was there that David and Gerard were born. Unfortunately, it was also where our Dad became afflicted with, first, Parkinson's disease and then polio. Not only was Olga a wife & mother, she now became the family's breadwinner, but the shop became too much and something had to be done, not only because of the workload but also because Dad required more specialized treatment than was available in Albury. It was back to Ma & Pa Dunlop in Thornbury for a short while until "Pine Gate" at Mt. Eliza came into our lives. The tall pines across the front of the house and the almost vacant paddocks probably gave her some remembrance of her girlhood and although the house no longer exists, it surely forms the basis of many fond memories right through the family.

But it wasn't all pine-scented gardens for Mum - there was a family to be fed and clothed, an incapacitated husband to be cared for - and all at a time when women's wages were far less than men’s.

Then late in 1967 Dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor and he died on 13 March 1968. It was a very low point in her life, naturally, and there followed two moves in fairly quick succession - to a unit in Mt. Eliza and then to a house in Rosebud before she made a major career and lifestyle change - she retired and moved to South Australia to be close to her daughter, Paulette Brown, and her growing family.

That only changed her location - she remained a Victorian at heart and often spoke of Kinglake, sometimes even managing to drive through the area when in Victoria visiting her boys. But she also loved the sea and built a house at Maslins Beach where she had views across undulating hills to the ocean and spent many hours walking the nearby beaches while still being near to her Brown family.

After 22 years in South Australia, in May 1997, that family had grown to include 5 great grandchildren but Mum realized her memory was fading and she felt it was time to return to her hills so she moved back to Victoria and settled in Mansfield. It was an area she had visited often when holidaying with David and Jenny and she sometimes reminisced that she felt she was back near Kinglake and that she had traveled full circle. However her health continued to go downhill and by October 1999 she needed full time care, although she was still able to get around. She moved to Bellbrae to be with Gerard and Helen but by the following Easter full time care entailed more than just the preparation of her meals and keeping an eye on her whereabouts so she spent some time in respite care before taking up residence at "Hillcrest" Nursing Home in Geelong. In just a few months her body also began to fail and for the last few months of her life she was bedridden but in the care of a wonderful staff at that home.

Last Wednesday, when we were called to her bedside, she still refused to give in until we'd all gone home and given her some privacy. Then, at last, very early Thursday morning, she saw a familiar smiling face saying "Come on, Ol, I've been waiting for 33 years."

Then God took her home.


The above eulogy by Tony was followed by some words from his daughter, Jacinta, who provided a grandchild's perspective:


Olga Dunlop was my Nana. She was Nana to my brother, my sister and my 12 cousins and great Nana to our children. My eldest daughters are lucky to have memories of quiet moments colouring in with Nana Dunlop. As we all know, she had a talented hand, not just on her canvas and ceramic work but also her skill in transforming a suburban garden into a magnificent work of art.

Nana loved to spend time outdoors tending to her garden, playing bowls and she spent many hours walking with her much-loved dogs.

All of us here have different memories of the lady I call Nana. Mine, as a child, are all of happy times; holidays spent with family at Nana's house; we had so much fun and our fair share of mischief along the way - those Brown boys could always lead their cousins astray!

As an adult, and a reformed smoker, Nana would amaze me at how she could make one cigarette last a whole day.

I am so proud to have Olga Dunlop as my Nana - after all, without her I would not have my wonderful Dad.

Rest peacefully, Nana, you are now in a perfect garden.

 

The following poignant poem was written by one of the grandchildren
for Olga's funeral service:


OLGA MARY DUNLOP
A GRANDCHILD'S SLICE OF HEAVEN

By Kathy Phillips

Growing up the second child in my then family of seven
Time spent with Nan was guaranteed to be a slice of heaven.
She meant loving, warmth, a tonne of fun and attention round the clock
Board games, music, laughter, endless walks around the block.
Collecting rocks and shells from the beach in her toweling hat
Building homes with playing cards that eventually went splat.

 

Her eyes were filled with happiness; her voice was music to my ears,
Her heart beat strong until the end, her ways will guide me through the years
Her smile told me I was special, her touch gentle as a feather,
Her smell surrounds me like flowers, her love stays with me forever.

 

I am a better person for having known you; I thank you with all of my heart
There's so much I wanted to tell you before we had to part
I’ll remember you forever as a woman I admire most
Strong spirit and family values, loyal friend and generous host.

 

You were the centre of my world for so many years
When I think of never seeing you it brings me to tears
But your beautiful memories will live with me forever
I’m glad you’re in a better place, I’ll think of you & Pa together.