My Aunty Marg

This post is a combination of the eulogy at the funeral of my aunty Marg, my mother’s remembrances (Marg’s sister) and also my talks with aunty Marg.

Margaret Grace Phillips nee England

1928 – 2017

Margaret was born early in April 1928, the second daughter of Hannah and Henry England of Sandy Bay. Her older sister Iris died at the age of 9 when her younger sister Phyllis was only 3 weeks old.

Margaret and her older sister, Iris

Margaret and Iris (above), Margaret and Phyllis (below)

Margaret looks after her younger sister, Phyllis

Margaret was educated at Albuera Street Primary School and Ogilvie High School. This was not an enjoyable experience for her.

Her first job was for pocket money where she washed out pots for flowers at Chandler’s Nursery. Margaret’s grandmother was a Chandler and the nursery was over the back fence of their house in Sandy Bay.

Margaret joined the Brownies and Guides. She loved being outdoors especially going fishing with her Dad, Harry, down near Sandy Bay beach. Marg, though, did not like the water and this carried on throughout her whole life.

Margaret and Phyllis fishing with their dad, Henry

She was always very pleased when her cousin Eileen Davey came and lived with them as she now had someone her age to go to socials and dances with. Margaret was a member of both the junior and senior church choirs at Princess Street Methodist Church.

After leaving school, Marg’s first big job was at Tattersalls and then at the University of Tasmania where she worked in the Refectory from 1966 until 1989. Marg still kept in contact with her friends from Uni, attending monthly lunches at various pubs around Hobart.

Marg married Norm (Ken) Phillips from Sorell in 1949 and in 1950 they built a home in Lenah Valley. Whilst living here, their two children Bronwyn and Leigh were born. But unfortunately the floods of 1954 washed away their outer sheds.

They did rebuild, but Norm’s health had suffered a shock, so they moved to a home in Duke Street, Sandy Bay.

In 1965 Margaret and her family travelled with Phyllis and her husband Bob, and children Suzanne and Philip. They drove through the eastern states of Australia as far north as Cairns, then across through outback Queensland and up to Darwin, down the centre to Alice Springs, Adelaide and back home to Tasmania. This was a trip of 4 months in a caravan towed by the trusty old FC Holden while Phyllis’s family were in a Kombi van and tent.

Margaret did volunteer work with several groups. She was a keen knitter, making rugs, scarves and jumpers for various organizations.

Margaret and Max

She stayed in Sandy Bay until the death of Norm in 1968 when she sold up and bought a unit in Davey Street, where she was very happy . After many years, she moved to Max Jones’s house in South Hobart when they became partners. They later bought a house together in West Moonah where they spent many happy years until Max’s death in 2009.

Marg’s daughter Bronwyn passed away suddenly in 2013.

Marg continued to live in West Moonah, however, due to an increase in health problems, it was decided she would move to a nursing home. After a period of respite, she moved into Queen Victoria Home at Lindisfarne for a period of 7 months prior to her passing. Although she would not admit it fully, she was very happy there and enjoyed not only the friends and company that she had, but also all the activities that were arranged.

Margaret’s much loved family included:

Bronwyn, Margaret and Leigh

2 children – Bronwyn and Leigh

A younger version of Kelli, Kaide and Shannon

5 grandchildren – Kelli, Shannon, Kaide, Chantel and Shawn

Four of the great grandchildren

9 great grandchildren – Jaxsen, Taylia, Kyah, Blake, Manon, Joseph, Hugo, Nate and Luke.


As part of my Oral History unit, I recorded aunty Marg talking about her father, Harry.

She also spoke about her mother Hannah, war and holidays.

If any of you have photos of Aunty Marg with the kids or just being herself that I could add to a slideshow and put on the blog, could you please send me a copy?


What is a great memory you have with my Aunty Marg? If you didn’t know my Aunty Marg, what is a great memory you have with an aunty?

3 thoughts on “My Aunty Marg

  1. Hello Sue,
    I had a favourite Aunty Julia. She was my mother’s oldest sister and a wonderful lady. She married later in life after having to leave school at the age of 12 to take care of her many younger siblings. She loved all of her nieces and nephews and took great delight in spoiling us. She was a very religious lady and did many charitable works. She also took the time to listen to me recite poetry to her whilst she was baking up a storm in her kitchen. Her cakes and slices were second to none.

  2. How great to have all this written down Sue. Thanks for sharing.

    I too have a favourite – Auntie Dolce, my Mum’s youngest sibling and now the only one left of the nine children. She is 96 last birthday and loves all her descendants and has a particular love for all of us 26 nieces and nephews. In fact she had her 95th birthday party so she could enjoy having her nieces and nephews together for a happy occasion. Took her DNA for me a few months back as she is the last of her generation, and it has taken our connections back to the early 1800’s. However, she is now ready to go and when I spoke to her yesterday she kept reiterating this as she doesn’t feel her hanging around any longer is of benefit to her or anyone else. So sad. Her mother, our MA, lived to just before her 102 birthday. Her motto, “Count your blessings everyday.”

  3. Hi Sue, enjoyed your Aunt Marg’s oral history and the interesting way you are presenting your family story, especially the photos. When I was very small thanks to Princess Margaret the Queens’ sister there were five Margaret’s in our family. My Mum was Marg I was Margie and Aunty Margaret lived just across the road. I can remember Aunty Susie (Marg) lived in the country. When I went to work everyone wanted to change your name, I tolerated Chook but I detested and rejected Margo, Maggie, Marje and Peggy.
    My husbands Aunty Jean born in 1908 gave an interview for her son in 2000. she grew up around Mt Morgan/Clermont in Qld. She spoke of the 1916 Clermont floods, Mt Morgan mine, the terrible Typhoid outbreaks that bought such hardship when men could not work and the loss of her baby sister to the disease. Also the Cobb & Co change station on her Aunt’s property where the girls helped to set the dinning room for the passengers with white cloths, napkins etc. She could also remember tales from Scotland when her Grandparents immigrated in 1869.
    I am reading the sequel to “Call the Midwives” called “Shadows of the Workhouse” it is really well written and provides some insights into the social changes from the Workhouse era to the 1950’s, might be worth a look.
    Also wanted to mention the current art display at our little Art Gallery in Tambo: check out: “a Sense of Wonder” by Robyn Dower and Kay Gorring on google or facebook. You can visit Grandma’s House?? Worth a look.
    Must fly regards Marg.

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