More than a measuring stick: the adventures of Margaret Ford
When you are about to drive through a river in your four-wheel drive loaded up with supplies, you should always test the depth of the river with the most dispensable item in your vehicle, states Margaret Ford, a former Patrol Padre’s wife. The most disposable object, of course, is the Patrol Padre’s wife!
At 85, Margaret has had more adventures than your average person, then again – Margaret Ford is anything but average.
Spending a good part of her life supporting the people of remote Australia, she has learnt many skills, from dentistry to midwifery, not to mention learning the art of being a human measuring stick.
Margaret has contributed to the history of the outback that she loves by writing two books; ‘End of A Beginning’ and ‘Beyond the Furthest Fences’ which are based on her experiences.
Margaret and Colin were involved with the work of the Australian Inland Mission (AIM) in a number of locations including Birdsville, Mt Isa and Alice Springs. Between 1951 and 1959, Margaret travelled around the top end of Queensland. It was during this time that Rev Colin Ford was the Cape York Patrol Padre.
From Birdsville to Mt Isa, the thing Margaret loves most about the bush is the down to earth nature, honesty and true character of the people.
They are never afraid of not conforming to popular opinion, said Margaret.
In one of the many anecdotes that Margaret has stored in her phenomenal collection of adventures is about a man named Archie, who carried down his most important possessions from the top end of the state into town as the Queen was visiting. However, his most important possessions were none other than every Bulletin newspaper from 1915 till the present day. Another is a man who, while talking about the visit from the Queen stated “I’ll be down in my hut if she wants me.”
Margaret will be speaking at the AIM Centenary Celebrations taking place in Alice Springs this weekend.
Frontier Services, as the successor to the AIM in the Uniting Church, celebrates 100 years at the heart of remote Australia this year.