Stories

Murray Appleby

Murray Appleby

89, Eliza Purton

Murray shows us that it’s never too late to start a new hobby, challenge or dream – no matter what age you start.

“I was the second eldest of eight children from the farming district of Upper Natone. I left school at 14 years old to work for 25 shilling and my keep. After 2 years I returned home to take over the lease of my grandfather’s farm as it was a soldier’s settlement farm from the First World War. My strongest memory of that time is the smell from bushfires, and of hay.

We often had goose for Christmas lunch and it was the children’s job to catch one the geese, which was most difficult, because the geese were wild and flew away from us!  I remember spending Boxing Days at Blythe Heads.  Mother would pack cold goose and jellies, and we would go by bus from Upper Natone to the wood chopping held near the mouth of the Blythe River. People would arrive in buggies.

I met my first wife Zenna when I was a bus driver and she was a passenger – she lived at Somerset. Zenna refused to get off the bus until the last stop. I have the feeling she asked me out, not the other way around.  We married in 1949 and lived in the old farm house at Upper Natone which had no power and just an open fire to cook with. After 12 months there we sold the farm and moved to Burnie, driving buses and taxis for 8 years.  We had two children Barry and Suzanne. Later working at the Paper Mill on shift work we decided to move to New Zealand for 5 years but enjoyed it so much they stayed for 15 years. Whilst there we travelled to many Pacific Islands.

I was married twice, first Zenna and then Alice – both of them lovely ladies. Alice was an old friend who I’d known for many years. We married, and had fifteen lovely years together.  I wrote my first poem when I was 84 years of age, written about my second wife. I always made sure my ladies had flowers and cards, and especially Valentine’s Day cards.”