HALL, Margaret Elizabeth
Also known as: née Nicker
Died: 01/09/1993Special Achievements:
Helped set up first School of the Air in Central Australia. President of Country Women's Association (CWA). President of Royal Flying Doctor Service Women's Auxiliary. Founding member of Senior Citizen's Club, Alice Springs. Names Centralian of the Year in 1983 and 1985. Awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 1985 for services to the community. Instigator for Alice Springs public bus service.
Her mother Elizabeth "Lizzie" Nicker gave birth to Margaret in their van in Stuart, assisted by her eldest daughter and an Aboriginal woman.
Pioneer leaves lasting legacy of tireless work. Centralian Advocate. October 9, 1993:4.
Petrick, Jose. (2010, November). The History of Alice Springs through Landmarks & Street Names. St Marys, South Australia: Openbook Howden Design and Print. pp. 87-88.
Margaret and Kingsley Meryck (Rex) Hall -
Pioneers, pastoralists and community workers.
Margaret, the daughter of Lizzie and Sam Nicker (Nicker Cr), was born in Alice Springs in 1910. When four years old, she was enrolled in the school of Mrs Standley (Standley Cr) to make up the number of students required for a teacher.
A few months later in August 1914 the Nicker family travelled by horse and buggy to the Ryan’s Well lease, north of Alice Springs. They named the station Glen Maggie after Margaret. Margaret with her family, then lived and worked on the station.
In 1931 he married Margaret Nicker.
During the Depression Rex obtained a mining engineering position in Mt Isa, but due to his health problems, he, Margaret and their two small children, Judy and R. E. (Punch) went to the Gulf Country.
The family then went to the Tanami Goldfield …
In December 1935 … Rex, Margaret, Judy, aged four and Punch, three, set off for Gordon Downs with swags, spare clothes, food and tools, in their wooden backed utility, with no brakes. About half way, spinifex became twisted around the exhaust pipe and caught alight. Suddenly the whole vehicle was ablaze! With no brakes, Rex swerved the utility round so the wind blew the flames away from them.
Margaret lifted the children to safety, but the distraught parents could only save a one gallon oil tin for water, a large flour bag for a sleeping bag for the children, and a tin of lollies, their only food for three days. Everything else was burnt.
When the searing December day temperature dropped, they set off on their 100 km walk back to Tanami carrying the children over spinifex until dark, then rested till the moon rose. They followed their vehicle tracks in the moonlight and rested through the heat for the next two days. There was a windlass on each well, to draw water for their container.
Margaret was exhausted on the third day, having walked 60 km carrying a child and with no food. Her legs were swollen and infected from spinifex scratches, so she and the children stayed at a well, while Rex walked the last 40 km to Tanami.
Margaret was unable to close her eyes as she had to watch the children, to call them back if they wandered away. Her legs were too swollen for her to follow them.
Rex reached Tanami after dark, hurriedly collected food and accompanied by one of his workmen, an Afghan, Hussen Khan, drove the camp truck back to Margaret. The vehicle had no lights. Where it was too dark to see by moonlight, Hussen walked ahead with a fire stick or lit an isolated clump of spinifex for light. They reached the family about midnight and ate their first food for four days! At daylight they returned to Tanami. They had lost their utility and possessions so went to Alice Springs, never to return to Tanami.
During World War II, Rex was pressed into essential services as a water driller in CA. Margaret accompanied him living in bough shelters and tents.
In 1947 the Hall family pioneered Ooratippra Station, north-east of Alice Springs. As with many early settlers, they lived in a bough shelter home for years while establishing the station. They drilled and equipped their own bores, built stockyards and drove the cattle.
When the School of the Air was instigated, Margaret called and chaired the meeting from Ooratippra. …
Margaret was the second President of the Country Women’s Association (CWA), Air Branch No. 1. During her term as the first President of the RFDS Women’s Auxiliary, the branch raised money for “The Whistle,” an emergency switch installed on the two-way radio to raise the base operator after hours.
When Margaret and Rex sold the property they travelled overseas, then ran the Mataranka Hotel before “retiring” to Alice Springs.
With support from Rex, Margaret established and became President of the Senior Citizens Association then accommodated in Adelaide House. Later they helped arrange the move from Adelaide House to the Association’s own building, previously the Nathalie Gorey Preschool, which had moved to the Sadadeen School Complex.
This undauntable lady received the award “Centralian of the Year,” in 1983 and the OAM for “Service to the Community,” in 1986.
Rex died in 1986 and Margaret in 1993. They were survived by Judy (Mrs Robinson), and Punch.”