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Some of the quietest people are some of the most beautiful people. Madeline Rose Rienecker is one such person.

Born at home in Mount Morgan on the 13th of December 1924, Madeline is a very young eighty- seven year old who loves family and friends and the peaceful lifestyle to which she is accustomed. Madeline was the second eldest of six. “We used to all go to the water holes when we were kids but I couldn’t swim. Starting work at thirteen years of age, you didn’t have much time for fun things”.

Living at Deeford (near Wowan) in her younger years Madeline started her education at Deeford School when she was around five years of age. Later she attended Mount Morgan State School. When asked about her sporting preferences and favourite school subjects Madeline laughingly recalls “I wasn’t a real fast runner but wasn’t too bad I suppose. I liked the school races at Wowan but favourite school subjects, no none really. I couldn’t sing so they wouldn’t let me in their singing class.”

Leaving school at an early age Madeline worked in a private home for ten shillings a week looking after a man, his elderly mother and his son. Over the years she has worked in drapery stores, and cafes.

She has also cooked for the Grand, Leichhardt, Golden Nugget, Railway and QN Hotels in Mount Morgan.

Madeline went to Brisbane for work when she was eighteen, spending time with her brother who was in the army. She then went back to Biloela and at 20 years old met Clarry whom she married in May 1946. Her brother was their Best Man. Sadly her mum died in 1945 and hadn’t met Clarry. Reflecting on her wedding day Madeline recalls getting on a train at Biloela. It left for Mount Morgan at one minute past midnight on the 31st of May. They travelled to the Mount, had breakfast with family, then did a few things before going to see the Minister. Madeline’s light blue wedding dress and her bridesmaid’s dress had already been made by her bridesmaid’s sister.

They both had the same material for their dresses as it was easier to buy one lot of material with the coupons used back then. Nanna Ware made their wedding cake. The Minister married Madeline and Clarry at four in the afternoon allowing them time to catch a train back to Biloela. They arrived back before midnight. “It all happened in twenty four hours. You don’t have to have big expensive weddings and long frocks and things. Our marriage proved that. It lasted sixty two years” Madeline says with a smile.

Clarry and Madeline were married for nine years before starting their family. With three children (one son and two daughters), nine grandchildren and twenty one great-grandchildren Madeline states with pride that she is very family orientated. When the children were young Madeline used to make their clothes. She sewed with an old treadle sewing machine and sewed the girl’s dresses until they got to the stage where they didn’t want home made dresses anymore.

There have been many happy memories for Madeline. She loves bowling and has travelled around playing in team’s club events as well as singles, winning the B Club singles in Mount Morgan one year and winning trophies in both team and single events over the years. Becoming President of the Dee Bowling Club in 1994 was one of the highlights of her sporting days at the club. She did two stints as President and totally enjoyed it.

Although Madeline doesn’t bowl anymore she still attends Friday nights when she can and has stayed a member of the club. Madeline loves going to dances. Her and Clarry used to go to dances all the time in Biloela. Clarry didn’t dance a step but Madeline loved to dance. They had many friends they’d meet up with at the dances so it was always an enjoyable time out. They also loved going to the races and having a flutter.

“We didn’t have a car so used to walk everywhere” Madeline remembers. “Beris and I used to push a pram with two kids in it along the old gravel roads. I prefer the old ways. Used the old wood copper. Even when the kids were small we still had the old copper. When we lived out on farms we just had kerosene fridges and hurricane lamps.”

She remembers travelling by horse and buggy from a little town about fifteen miles from Biloela.
“We always had horses but I didn’t used to ride. I could sit on a horse but Dorrie was a good rider though.”

Madeline likes to travel a bit. She’s been out West and once drove all the way to the other side of Longridge and back. She doesn’t mind flying but has done a lot of travelling by road from Biloela to Mount Morgan and back.

On her eightieth birthday she did her first tandem sky dive. Even though she broke her back and hip after a bad landing she says she didn’t regret it. “I enjoyed doing it. Was just bad luck the way I landed.”

Being an independent woman, Madeline still lives on her own but enjoys her family calling in to see her. She loves cooking, although these days she has Meals on Wheels delivered to her as well. Entries in the cooking sections of the Mount Morgan Shows have proved fruitful with wins for Madeline over the years.

Having kangaroos, birds and rabbits still visiting her yard is something Madeline likes although she says there aren’t as many as there used to be years ago. She thinks Mount Morgan is a pretty town and likes it just the way it is and says she wouldn’t like to live anywhere else. Madeline loves listening to the piano and button accordions and even the old squeeze boxes. “I enjoy most types of music.” She prefers women to wear dresses than trousers and prefers the old fashioned morals.

These things and much more hopefully will be covered in future issues of People in Profile.

- Profile and photograph by Heather Quarry, supplied to the Mount Morgan Argus -