Vale Margaret Farmer 1933 – 2023


Margaret Farmer

On Friday 18th August 2023, Montville lost a community champion. Margaret Farmer epitomised community service. As her daughter, Karen, reflected: “Mum loved unconditionally, family first but definitely Montville second.” This love for the Montville Community turned Les Farmer’s shy little Greek “girl in blue” into a tireless worker and fearless advocate for her community for over fifty years.

Forming the Montville Ladies Social and Benefit Club 

As a shy young mother of 4 in 1962, Margaret was 1 of 16 CWA women who formed the Montville Ladies Social and Benefit Club to focus the restoration of the Montville Village Hall and other local charities while providing social fellowship for Montville women. Its first project was to line the supper room in the hall. Its first sub-committee was an Entertainment Committee. Service and Fellowship were core to its charter from day 1. As its inaugural Vice President and Press Secretary, Margaret oversaw a rapid growth in membership.

In 1963, Margaret was elected President of the Montville Ladies Social and Benefit Club, has served on its executive in a number of roles over the years and became secretary of the club for its final eight years. The club continued to pursue its aim of supporting the maintenance of the hall and improving its facilities, including funding a new floor and providing a children’s playground for families. However, it became more well known for its catering, a service/fund raiser close to Margaret’s heart.

Catering as a means of fund raising

What began in 1966 as an almost emergency catering for a wedding by the club led to it becoming the ‘go-to’ caterer for every significant social event for the next 20 years. Under Margaret’s management, the club catered for every local wedding, concert, dinner-dance, anniversary, and party in Montville. At the same time, early attempts at holding fashion parades became the club’s most anticipated social occasion. Its final parade in 2012 catered for 120 women around a catwalk down the middle of the hall which later transformed into a buffet. When the ‘male’ Village Association set-up volunteers suggested that it couldn’t be done, Margaret convinced them that it could. It was a hugely successful finale to fifty years of fellowship. The event also made over $3000 and highlighted the club’s service legacy. The Montville Ladies Social and Benefit Club donated $65,000 to the local community over its fifty years.

Introducing the School Tuckshop

In the 1970s, Margaret brought her considerable skill and energy to the Montville State School Parents and Citizens Association serving as secretary and treasurer during that decade. Under her leadership, the P&C introduced a tuckshop and held annual fetes as its major fund raiser. At the same time, she was an active member of the Ladies Guild of the Methodist then Uniting Church of Montville where once again her catering prowess was noted. Then, in 1997, Margaret was invited to become honorary secretary of the newly formed Blackall Range Woodcrafters Guild, a position she filled until 2000 and so became its first female member.

Convenor of Meals on Wheels

However, it was as Convenor of Meals on Wheels in Nambour that Margaret was able to bring together her catering and management skills for the wider community. For 15 years she grew that service, improving the quality of the meals it prepared and streamlining its service to hinterland communities including the Blackall Range.

Community Service Awards

It is not surprising that Margaret won an amazing eight community service awards in recognition of what she gave to the many groups in her community. However, the award that still hangs proudly in the centre of her loungeroom wall is the Montville Lifetime Citizenship Award which she said was the ultimate reward for her devotion to Montville.

Doug Patterson