Margaret Mary Boller (nee Lawler) was one of the last children born at the Bega Private Hospital (now Bega Pioneers Museum).
Margaret's parents were James (Leo) Lawler and Dorothy (Dorrie) Agnes Gough of Springvale.
Leo's father John arrived from Ireland in 1865 and with his wife Annie Carden settled at the newly created Springvale settlement in 1894. The slab hut they built on their selection was where Margaret began her life. Leo and Dorothy built a new home in 1929, which is still occupied by direct Lawler descendants.
Margaret was the fourth eldest of eight Lawler children (Patrick, Joan, Joe, John, Mick, Peter, and Ann) and in keeping with the times, the elder children were charged with jobs such as milking cows each morning before heading off to Springvale school. During WW2, Margaret and her elder sister Joan who were both very skilled at knitting and crochet contributed to a Red Cross drive to knit socks and caps for soldiers; Skills Margaret continued to put to good use through to her late eighties.
Margaret completed her Intermediate Certificate at St Patricks School Bega in 1945, cramming two years of study into one, riding her pushbike the five miles to and from Springvale each day or more precariously riding on the back of her brother Joe's motorcycle. She then commenced work at the Bega Co-Op of which her father Leo was a founding shareholder. She also took over from her elder sister Joan in doing the family's farm accounts on weekends
Around 1949 Margaret moved to Wollongong where her relationship with another Bega district native, Ben Boller bloomed.
The couple married in Wollongong in June 1951 and moved soon after to Rose Valley Station near Cooma, where their first child Helene was born. After this, they lived and worked on a farm near Berridale where Bernard, Robert (dec), Catherine, Veronica, Roger and Rick were born.
In 1963 the couple took a significant step and bought their first home in Cooma and settled down, raising a further two children, Angela and David. They had their hands full providing for their growing family and establishing what was to be a hallmark of wherever they lived - beautiful award-winning gardens.
Despite the challenges of raising a large family, Margaret and Ben always found time to assist others, whether it was friends or family or working to raise funds for the Parents and Friends association of St Patricks. Despite having her own pre-school aged children, Margaret looked after many children for other working mothers and was fondly known by them as Mum Boll. Some maintained contact over the years.
In 1977 the family moved first to to Canberra and then to Leeton NSW. Margaret resurrected some rusty bookkeeping skills and learnt some new ones, checking oil and pumping petrol. Along with the children who remained at home, Margaret and Ben turned a rundown service station into a popular well-known thriving business, forging strong relationships in the community through their business and local Lions Club activities.
In 1983 Margaret and Ben returned to the Bega area settling first at Wapengo, then Tathra where they created an award-winning garden at their home in Francis Hollis Drive. They also established the Harbourmasters Cellars in Tathra and reconnected with the community through volunteering for Meals on Wheels, Lions Club and Tathra Hospital Auxiliary
Margaret's mastery of jam making, knitting and crochet were in high demand for fundraising efforts for these organisations. In 2015, she was honoured with life membership of Tathra Hospital Auxiliary for her services to the organisation.
Ben passed away in Tathra in 2016 and Margaret remained in their home until recently enjoying her garden and memories, and visits from her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Margaret passed away at Pambula on October 17, marking the end of a life of service to her family and community.
Her funeral will be held in St Patrick's Catholic Church, Bega, Wednesday, November 3, 11am, and burial will follow in the Bega Cemetery.