From horseback to army truck

Rita Richards spoke to Mageret Rollins about her time with the Australian Red Cross in New Norfolk, Tasmania. 

Mageret's mother was a member and they used to send flowers to the national office in Sydney. It looked fun, so Mageret and her sister also joined.

Mageret speaks of manning the observation post on the hill above the golf course at New Norfolk during World War II. She did not see any planes but said it was a beautiful view most nights. She would ride over after she finished work on the farm on a horse borrowed from her father. I have not heard of any plane sightings but observation posts were set up on many tall hills around Hobart.

In World War II, the New Norfolk Australian Red Cross collected recycled goods using the old horse to take the goods to the local railway station for transport to Hobart. Along with Phillis Rollins, Majorie Greystone and Nancy Gittus, Mageret attempted to obtain her military drivers licence. Mageret passed the test which involved the military driver taking them to the bottom of Mount Wellington and telling them that they had to drive the vehicle to the summit and back (the "truck" was a five-ton army truck and the "road" was unsealed). There was only one way up and down. Mageret passed but the others didn't.

Mageret has memories of the Red Cross Cup which was founded on the local tip. The cup was presented to the winning VAD branch for first aid, etc. New Norfolk also held various functions including lunches, horseracing days and garden lunches. The ladies also worked in the Hobart op shop every two weeks. The ladies ran the medical hire for Australian Red Cross at New Norfolk, collecting and returning goods to headquarters to cater for the Derwent Valley.

Mageret Rollins (centre) with her Voluntary Aid Detachment in New Norfolk, Tasmania, WWII.

Mageret Rollins today.

Story by Mageret Rollins