GREAT grandmother Margaret MacFarlaine, one of the oldest residents at aged care home Mercy Place Lathlain, will be spending Mother’s Day in good company.
This year, 90-year-old Margaret will be celebrating motherhood along with three generations of family – her eight children, 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren with another on the way.
When it comes to catching up over Sunday lunch, the matriarch is never short of tales to tell given she has lived in many different countries throughout her life, and has learned to speak numerous languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Malay and Hindi.
Born in Penang on 14 July 1928, Margaret grew up in Malaysia and it was while working as a governess that she met her future husband, Anglo-Indian British army officer Yeoland MacFarlaine, who was in Penang on a peacekeeping mission.
The two immediately fell in love and within two weeks of meeting each other were married.
The couple went on to live in Penang for many years as well as India and Kuching in Sarawak, before moving to Australia in 1978.
Daughter Yolanda MacFarlane said the family always treasured spending time with Margaret, who she describes as the true matriarch of the family.
“It’s wonderful to have mum around, she is the oldest surviving member of our family and she has had the most amazing life, she is an incredibly smart cookie who has picked up different languages wherever she has lived,” she said.
“In her later life, one of her grandsons married a Japanese lady and, even though she hadn’t spoken Japanese for 60 years, the language came back to her quickly and she was able to converse very easily with her new granddaughter-in-law.”