Tatura’s Ruth McCracken holds a lifetime of memories, diligently cut from newspapers and pasted into a scrapbook depicting the township’s past.
The 89-year-old has lived in Tatura for over 80 years and has been heavily involved in the community after moving from Tongala when she was just eight years old.
‘‘Dad used to work on the railways and we moved around a lot, but when we got to Tatura my mum said ‘we’re not leaving’,’’ Mrs McCracken said about how she came to be a valued member of the community.
Most notably dotted throughout the collection of achievements and memorable moments, is photograph after photograph of Mrs McCracken’s involvement with Turaton.
‘‘We always sang at weddings and concerts and the like,’’ she said.
‘‘I got very busy with my singing.
‘‘It was such a lovely, fun thing.’’
A colour photograph of Mrs McCracken, along with three other Tatura residents dressed as Abba, is stuck to a page within her scrapbook.
‘‘Some friends and I from the Mothers Club did Abba,’’ she said.
‘‘We were the host club so we had to do an item.
‘‘We were booked for 11 engagement parties after that.’’
It was not just the stage where Mrs McCracken showcased her talent and enthusiasm, also involved in the formation of the Lions Ladies Club.
‘‘We’ve still got the club,’’ she said.
‘‘We have a monthly meeting... we just work to help the Lions Club.’’
After many years of involvement with the Tatura community, Mrs McCracken was rewarded for her efforts, named the 1987 Rodney Shire Citizen of the Year.
‘‘Ted my husband also won the Citizen of the Year when he was 80 years old,’’ she said.
The pair were an iconic Tatura couple, where Mr McCracken was elected to council and served as a councillor for four years.
‘‘He was in the public eye as much as I was,’’ Mrs McCracken said.
With Mr McCracken now living at Moyola Lodge at Tatura Hospital, she reflected on those great many years in the spotlight.
‘‘We have had a wonderful marriage,’’ she said.
‘‘Whatever we did, we did it together.’’
Their nuptials would have been a memorable Tatura affair — the first dressed wedding in the township since the the Second World War ended in 1945.
‘‘The whole town came to see it,’’ Mrs McCracken said.
‘‘I bought all my dress, shoes, everything at Rockmans in Shepparton.’’
The pair raised four children in the community and now have seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
‘‘Now we’re retired of course and we wouldn’t leave Tatura for quids,’’ she said.
‘‘I have had such a happy life here.’’