Launceston matriarch loves life

There’s not too much that 88-year-old Margaret Young doesn’t know about raising children.

She and her husband Terry had eight children in 10 years and Margaret still recalls boiling cloth nappies. “I was well-organised so it was pretty easy,” the soon-to-be great-great grandmother says. “I also managed to find time to knit plenty of jumpers for all eight of them.”

Margaret has been widowed twice and with her children, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren still living in Launceston, has no intention of living anywhere else.

“I’ve travelled to Melbourne and Brisbane, and there’s no doubt Launceston is the most beautiful part of the country. Everyone I love is here, it’s home,” she says simply.

So, it was an obvious choice for her to move into Uniting AgeWell Newnham Community, Aldersgate Village a year ago after her second husband, Frank, died and she battled with mobility in her foot after suffering a blood clot.

And the new 30-bed wing in the $10.9 million revamp and development at Aldersgate Village, which is now open, means continuing to live in lovely Launceston is an option available to many.

The new development includes a hair salon, lovely dining and lounge spaces, a commercial laundry and a state-of-the-art kitchen, as well as a community centre for the nearby independent living unit residents. It also incorporates dementia-friendly designs including a sensory garden.

Senior Care Manager Audette Groenewold says because Aldersgate Village is at the northern end of Launceston, many residents come from rural settings.

“It’s fair to say they and those living in Launceston have deep roots and certainly want to continue living close to their family and friends,” Audette says.

And family matriarch Margaret certainly is one of them. She was born in the rural town of Wynyard on the north-west coast of Tasmania and moved to Queenstown with her family as a child. She and Terry moved to Launceston where he worked on the railways.

Terry had almost finished building their first home, when it burned down, destroying all their possessions with it. However, they soldiered on and bought a four-bedroomed home where they raised their brood, as well as a looking after a dog and a cat.

“We had a huge dining room table,” Margaret recalls, “and there was always a pot of soup on the boil. I used to buy in bulk, but we sure got through a lot of bread. The older kids helped with the younger ones, it all ran pretty smoothly.”

After Terry’s death, Margaret married Frank Young and lived in Hobart for a short while before they moved back to Launceston. Frank died four years ago and Margaret moved into Aldersgate Village a year ago – a decision she’s pleased she made.

“I see my family regularly, even though it’s not as big as you would think with eight children. Only three of my brood married – the rest are single. Both my daughters are single – they told me they were sick of men after having lived with six brothers!” Margaret laughs.

And she has nothing but praise for Aldersgate Village. “I play bowls and golf, and I love bingo and doing crosswords. The meals are wonderful and I’ve made lots of friends.”

And she’s looking forward to the birth of her great-great grandchild in June.

  • Aldersgate village fireplace