The Angel of Collingwood

Margaret Oates (1909-1998) was born on a farm in the Yarra Valley. After the Second World War she moved to Collingwood then a poor, inner suburb of Melbourne. Here she raised her four children, which was a struggle, especially, after the death of her husband. Margaret was deeply concerned about the struggles of ordinary people. She related to those with no money to buy food, the homeless mother trying to find accommodation for her family or the lonely outsider longing for companionship. Her response to these human problems was to work tirelessly for others. She was a familiar figure walking the streets of Collingwood, spending countless hours, along with other members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, providing shelter, food, clothing as well as understanding for those in need. Many people were touched by Margaret’s life. In 1993 she received an Order of Australia, in part, because of the number of ordinary people who nominated her for the work she had done over 40 years.

Activity

1 “Margaret was an ordinary person who did extraordinary things.” Explain this statement:

Margret didn’t come from a wealthy family so she didn’t do what she did because she had a lot of money, she did it out of the kindness of her heart. She was an ordinary woman who helped people who were also ordinary.

2 Identify two “good” people that you either know personally or are aware of from other sources.

I have a family friend, Monica Busier.

3 Explain the reasons for your choice of these two people, emphasising the qualities of ‘goodness’ that they possess.

Monica = She has helped my family so much over the time she has been friends my Mum. when my mum was sick she came to help us, she helped clean, wash dishes, sort washing and vacuum for us while my parents were out. She is a nurse and she has saved 2 peoples lives when she wasn’t working. Monica once helped a woman whose child had been severely cut in a bath as well as their painter who fell from the ladder and had deep gashes and would have bleed to death if she weren’t there. Monica has helped so much and she is an extraordinary.

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