Dedicated life to family and community

February 14, 2018

Catherine Taylor died last month, aged 94.


Cath was the fifth born of eight children — her siblings being Wally, Tom, Jim, Theresa (Joyce), Monica (Densley), Vera (Cameron) and Mary (Wiseman) — to William Edward and Margaret Mary Connors (nee Naughton).

Cath was born in Gilgandra, NSW, on May 1, 1923.

In the 1930s the family moved to a farm at Shepparton East at the end of Connor Rd.

Cath attended Shepparton East State School to Year 8.

Upon leaving school, she worked on the farm, also picking fruit and vegetables, milking cows by hand and making their own butter.

Cath met her only boyfriend, Harvey Taylor, at an old-time dance at the Star Theatre in Fryers St, Shepparton.

She married Harvey in St Brendan’s Church, Shepparton, on June 30, 1943.

Their mode of transport was a bicycle. It was nothing unusual to see Harvey dinking Cath.

After their marriage, they lived in Doyles Rd next to the synagogue.

After a couple of years they moved in with Cath’s parents, then into the cottage at the bottom of Ebbott Rd.

In 1948, Harvey started working for his cousin Harry Guppy, on an orchard in Swainston Rd, Shepparton East.

In 1949 the family moved into a two-bedroom house Harry had built so that Harvey could live on the job, instead of riding 8km to and from work each day.

Cath worked the season in the Guppy ‘‘grading shed’’ or picking tomatoes for the Serafinis and Harold Davies.

Cath milked the house cow morning and night, then separated the milk to make cream and butter. The cow grazed along Swainston Rd.

As the cow got further away from the house, Cath would hop on her fixed wheel bike and ride to where the cow was tethered, to milk it.

There was no running water. A rain tank contained drinking water. The water for washing or bathing was carted by bucket from the channel on the other side of the road.

Clothes were washed in a copper that had a fire lit under it to boil the water. The water was also heated in the copper for baths.

In later years, we were given a second-hand chip burner that sat at the end of the bath, which meant there was running hot water.

In July, 1958, the family moved to Kialla, where Harvey managed the planting of a new orchard for Konigs. It was there Cath got her first electric refrigerator and a washing machine.

Cath preserved the fruits from the orchard and made her own relish and jams.

She was active with the mothers’ club and held executive positions at Shepparton East and Kialla State School and Sacred Heart College.

She volunteered to drive students into Shepparton for the Queen’s visit in 1954.

Beside her cooking talents, which were also used in baking for street stalls to raise funds for schools or the new Kialla hall, she was also a dressmaker, knitted, crocheted and did lots of home perms.

She became the taxi when her daughters started working, sometimes making four trips in a day.

In 1972, the family moved into town, taking up residence in Halpin Cres, Shepparton.

Back into their original parish of St Brendan’s, they became regular attendees at the 8am mass.

Cath worked her first ever retail job at the Hot Bread shop in High St until Harvey’s health deteriorated.

Harvey died on June 5, 1999.

In 2005, the Housing Commission advised they would be pulling Cath’s house down and she would be relocated.

On June 20, 2006, Cath moved into a new unit in Regent St, where she lived until her move into Mercy Place on January 11, 2016.

Cath died peacefully last month at Mercy Place, Shepparton.

She is survived by her four daughters — Lorraine (husband Brian Pattison), Lucy (husband Frank Scott), Judith (husband Kevin Pattison) and Kathleen (husband Stan Rigden, dec).

Cath was also ‘‘Nanna’’ to 23 grandchildren, and ‘‘Nanna Taylor’’ to 44 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.

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