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Madeline May McKinnon
Born premature on June 2nd 1906 at Oodnadatta she couldn't open her eyes
She was very sick & had to be carried around a bag hanging down over the
windows till later in the morning. She would call out around about midday
and say she could see, and would be told to then come out. They never knew
why. She never wore glasses until later in life and would crochet without
them. The family endured harsh conditions as part of their upbringing,
living near water holes & the father was away for months at a time droving.
Influenza struck the family when they were living near Oodnadatta.
The mother was due with baby John (who lived two days) and the father was
in Royal Adelaide hospital with face cancer. Mother Mary, saying they were
all sick sent a black fellow in with a message for medicine to the
Inland Mission station. The Australian Inland Mission sister road out on
horseback &they were brought in by wagonette. The axle broke in the first
creek bed and some were brought in by a station owner's car the other
children walked the 30 miles. At the age of 5, Madeline was reported to be
so poorly that the teaching sisters thought it was only worthwhile teaching
her religion in order that she could make her Holy Communion. They did not
expect her to live very long. This explains why Madeline did not have a good
education & could not read or write. She went to school when she was 13 at
Kadina and was in the class of 5 year olds, she used to faint all the time.
Without being able to read any patterns or recipes she was gifted with her
hands & could sew, crochet & cook with finesse. Madeline met her husband Jim
Cooper while working at a hotel at Ardrossan when 20 years of age. She had
three children, a girl and two boys, the youngest living only a few days.
Jim died when the children were very young. Ten years later she met and
Married George Owen Young. He was a boundary rider on the Dingo Fence
Between S.A. and N.T. It was desolate and lonely. Daughter Margaret remembers
teaching Her brother Roy school lessons and riding a camel she had there.
Later they moved to Peterborough, Yongola and Strathalbyn droving sheep when
pastures were very sparse. They drove sheep on the sides of the road to
feed them, for station owners. Madeline worked and walked as hard as any man
and at the end of the day her feet were covered in blisters. Later they moved to Mt
Compass where they were dairy farming. They moved to the city where in an
Effort to save enough money for a house, she took in borders and washed dishes
at a milk bar called "Segalises" in Rundle Street. Once the money was raised
the family moved to their house in Woodville with daughter Margaret, son in
law Vic and two children and two borders. In 1966 George died. Madeline was
diagnosed with emphysema but died of a heart attach in 1990.