Ruth Brown, 93-years-old from Maryborough, with a photo taken when she was seven.
Ruth Brown, 93-years-old from Maryborough, with a photo taken when she was seven. Alistair Brightman

The Story Of: Teacher overcomes tragedy

HER life began with the tragedy of losing her mother when she was just four-days-old.

But while her childhood may have been marred by the loss of her mum, Ruth Brown has found plenty of joy in her long and fascinating life.

The 96-year-old Fairhaven resident was born in a small hospital in Murgon on January 30, 1922.

Her mum's name was also Ruth, and after her passing, her father insisted that also be her name.

In her early years she lived with her beloved grandparents, growing up on their farm in the South Burnett region.

But when she was five, she went to live with her maternal grandmother, who was a lot stricter than the grandparents she had come to know and love.

Years later she lived with her father, who had remarried, before, at the age of 10, Ruth contracted a dose of the whooping cough that had spread throughout Kilkivan.

Worried about their own newborn child, her father and step-mother sent her back to live with her much-loved grandparents and it was there she stayed until she went to high school in Gympie.

There she became school captain and excelled at sports before she did a year of training in Brisbane to become a teacher.

There was a shortage of teachers due to World War Two and by 1941, Ruth was teaching at a school in Proston.

Earning $4.50 a week, $2.50 of which went toward her board, Ruth was one of three teachers at the school.

She taught there for a year before she was transferred to another school in the South Burnett, where she was the only teacher.

She soon married her husband, Aubrey, and she devoted her time to their farm.

In 1954, Ruth became a member of the Queensland Country Women's Association and she's been one ever since, becoming a divisional president in 1965 and overseeing 34 branches.

"It was a hell of a lot of driving,” Ruth said.

She had children, including two sons who both died young, one in 1956 and the other in 1965.

She adopted her daughter, Jan, when she was 17 months.

"She was the delight of my life,” Ruth said.

"Such a little darling.”

The family moved to Maryborough in 1976 and they built a house in Queens St in 1977.

Jan lives in Granville with her husband, while Ruth also has a biological daughter, Wendy, who lives in Darwin.

She has four grandchildren, several great grandchildren and even some great, great grandchildren.

Once a teacher, always a teacher - Ruth enjoys helping others learn her favourite game, Mah jong, and enjoys playing bridge as well.

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