Project Description

Francis Emma May MARDON (nee Pillage), known as May, was born on 11 August, 1902 at Boulder, on the ‘Golden Mile’, the only child of older parents. Brought up in a strict, loving and advantaged environment, May applied herself to school studies and piano lessons. She was involved in church life, played tennis, had many friends, cared lovingly for various pets and helped out at home.

May achieved entry to Goldfields High School, one of the very few high schools in the State at that time. In the year she took her Junior Certificate she also studied for a Teachers ‘C’ Certificate, and was invited on to the staff of the Boulder Central School the following year as Monitor. For part of that year, with support of Senior Staff, she handled 55 students in the 5B class. After a year at Claremont Teachers’ College with other trainees under preparation for teaching in small country schools, in 1922 May was appointed to Marybrook School which served about a dozen farming families whose home hospitality she enjoyed. She boarded with Mr and Mrs Percy Carter at Lennox House. During the three years at Marybrook, May studied for and obtained her Teachers ‘B’ Certificate.

She married George Edward Mardon, an officer with the Postal Department, in 1928. They had two sons, George in 1936 and John in 1939. The family moved as George’s Post Office appointments demanded. In 1946 he was appointed Post Master to Busselton so they lived in the house next door to the Post Office. May returned to teaching in 1951 to Vasse School as an assistant. She taught in the Supper Room of Newtown Hall and joyfully used its piano. In 1954 they moved to 176 Duke Street and in 1955 May’s teaching career came to an end because George’s arthritis worsened considerably. She was needed to care for him and did so for the next 26 years, assisted by their son John for around 13 years until he married, then by Silver Chain Nursing Service.

May was an inspiration, with an optimistic outlook and a very supportive family including five grandchildren and one great grandchild.