Eulogy given by her daughter Edna Craig, at her mother's Funeral in St Luke's Anglican Church, Junee, 7th Sept, 2000
Born at Laurelvale, Drumbeg on 12th March, 1902, Emily Graham Dunlop was the fourth child in a family of five whose parents were farmers in County Down, Northern Ireland. The land was in her blood. In some ways she was ahead of her times. As a young girl she studied elocution, took piano and singing lessons, and almost to the end of her days she loved singing the beautiful ballads of her homeland - "Danny Boy", "Macushla", "Rose of Tralee" and so on. In the ensuing years she was frequently asked to sing at community functions.
On leaving school, Mum attended Business College and studied book-keeping, typing and shorthand (skills she never lost). She obtained a position in the Belfast office of a firm of linen exporters, where she rose to the position of Private Secretary to the Managing Director. She held this position until her departure for Australia in 1932.
By 1922, the year they both turned twenty, she and a young man named Sam Martin (also from the Drumbeg area) had formed a deep friendship. Sam was also of farming stock, but could not see his future on small Irish acres, and sailed for Australia to try his luck. The understanding was that if things worked out in Australia, he would return to Ireland for Emily.
Well, things did work out - Sam eventually drew a block of virgin land near Weethalle which had to be cleared and fenced before it came into production. He could not afford to return to Ireland, so after ten years, during which their only contact had been by slow sea mail, Emily made the huge and brave decision to come to Australia.
Leaving the security of home, family and friends she set off on her journey into the virtually unknown, and she and Sam were married in Sydney on 20th June, 1932. After a brief honeymoon they set out for "Tandragee" and its new, three-roomed cypress pine cottage to make their home and their future together..
What a contrast it all must have been to everything she had known - how isolated and hot during the long summer months. However, Emily Martin was not one to give up. She made many wonderful life-long friends among the young wives of the other settlers, and always acknowledged the help they had been in teaching her how to be a farmers wife In Australia.
She was universally liked and respected, and before long was playing a leading role in the life of the fledgling community. At various times she was Secretary/ Treasurer of the local Brolga Tennis Club, an active member of the Weethalle branch of the Red Cross, Weethalle C.W.A., and the Show Society where she was always an enthusiastic and successful exhibitor in the cookery section. Transport in those early days was largely by horse and sulky and she soon mastered the art of handling this conveyance.
In quick time Emily turned the bare pine: cottage into a home where the kettle was always boiling and a batch of fresh scones at the ready for anyone who called - and many did.
Together she and Sam weathered the next years - the seasons were reasonable and wheat crops successful. In 1934 their first child, Edna, was born, then Maureen in 1936. In 1937 they decided they could afford a trip home to Ireland to visit their parents and other family. This was a wonderful experience for them and the two little girls, and as it turned out, was the last time they were to see their parents. World War II and the drought years of the 1940's intervened and the older generation had passed on before another trip was possible.
A third daughter, Elizabeth (Betty) was born in 1938 and finally a son, John in 1940.
Post World War II there were to be three more trips back to Ireland - "home" as Mum always referred to it, although she would never have left Australia to live there. These holidays were interspersed with visits TO Australia by various Irish family members - all joyous reunions.
Mum's life on "Tandragee" was no bed of roses - no electricity, no water laid on to make the garden she would have loved, (though she performed small miracles with recycled bath and laundry water). There were log fires in the winter months, but no cooling for the hot dusty summers, and until the advent of the kerosene refrigerator, only the Coolgardie drip safe to keep the food-stuffs fresh. And of course the old party line telephone.
When the oldest girl, Edna, was five, schooling of the children became an issue. There being no school within reach of a five-year-old, Mum as usual rose to the occasion, enrolled Edna with the Blackfriars Correspondence School in Sydney and undertook the task of supervisor of lessons When it became time for Maureen to commence schooling, she had two classes - an almost full time job, and Betty and John were still only toddlers. This continued for several years, until Betty was of school age, and the three girls drove a horse and sulky six miles through the mallee scrub to the school at Yalgogrin.
In 1949 the family moved to the Eurongilly district, having sold `Tandragee". "Glendore" had a large brick home, and as there was water available to be laid on, Mum at last was able to have her garden. She loved plants and spent many happy hours tending them. Roses were her greatest love. Life and living were easier for her, electricity came through and with it the conveniences we today look on as necessities.
She soon became part of the new community. In 1952 she was elected President of the Eurongilly branch of the C.W.A., and later went on to hold office at Group level. For many years until her passing she was Patron of the Eurongilly branch. She was a member of the Illabo Red Cross, the Eurongilly Tennis club and an active member of her Church in Junee.
As the years went by we four children grew up and married, and with the exception of Betty, remained in the Junee/Eurongilly area. Betty married an Irishman and lives in Ireland where it all began. One of Mum's great joys was the arrival of her grand-daughters - six in all. She loved them dearly, and they her.
The girls all truly loved their "sleep-overs" at "Glendore" and the fun they had trying to beat Nana at Scrabble or at least getting within sight of her score.
They particularly remember the fact that Nana was a great cook, and the excitement of discovering what new delights were in the "bikkie" tin for them was something, they always looked forward to. They recall her never-failing interest in them as children, her encouragement of their endeavours, her thoughtfulness, warmth and affection towards them. Her intelligence was a feature, and she was very articulate. They grew to admire her quiet strength and the fact that she and Papa were truly equal partners.
In 1987 Mum and Dad retired to Wagga and spent a number of happy years at Myall Crescent where Mum continued to tend her beloved garden, and to play lawn bowls which she greatly enjoyed.
In 1993 her health began to decline, and sadly, early in 1994 it became impossible to give her the care she needed at home. She moved into full time care at the Loreto Home of Compassion in Wagga and typically, soon came to be loved and respected for the serene lady that she was by all members of the staff.
At this point Mum's family would like to pay tribute publicly to all those wonderful people who cared for her in her final years. The consideration, care and love given to our loved one will never be forgotten by any of us. We are so very grateful for that and the friendship and understanding extended to us all.
So now as we say our last goodbye, we thank God for the life and influence of this genteel wife, mother, mother-in-law, Nana, great grand-mother and friend, and recall a little poem of which she was very fond.
"With the kiss of
the sun for pardon
Her husband Sam died the following year just short of his 100th birthday.