For Mrs Ralda Raddon of Resthaven Mount Gambier, flying planes and riding horses were just a normal part of life growing up in rural NSW.
Mrs Raddon was born in Broken Hill in 1929, the youngest of three – one brother and two sisters. Sadly she is the only surviving sibling.
She describes how her family lived 50 miles from Broken Hill, along a bush track, 10 miles across the properties, where her father worked the land as a sheep grazier.
‘I remember helping out on the family farm, helping to muster sheep in the shearing shed,’ she says.
Ralda attended correspondence school, before what is now known as the ‘school of the air’.
‘I received my week’s worth of lessons through the mail, following the New South Wales curriculum,’ she says.
‘I would have one week’s worth of lessons, and the previous week’s would be in the mail going back to be marked. The next week’s would already be in the post.’
‘If the bush tracks got wet, the lessons were late, and I had to catch up the lessons at a later time. Luckily, this was understood by the school.’
She also remembers her cousins flying over the property in a light plane, and how this influenced her to become a pilot herself.
‘When they flew over, we would all run out with arms waving about laughing trying to get their attention,’ she says.
Later in life, she, along with her husband, youngest son, and brother, flew around Australia in her brother’s plane. ‘It was a Cessna 185 and its number was Alpha, Tango, Hotel,’ she says. ‘My husband did most of the flying.’
Mrs Raddon met her husband at a social in Largs Bay, where she was visiting her sister. ‘He was playing the piano accordion, and he asked me out on a date to go skating. In return, I invited him to Broken Hill for Christmas.’
‘He rode the train and was horrified that I preferred to fly a plane!’
The couple went on to have three sons, and now have ‘many’ grandchildren.
Her special memories of growing up in the country include ‘wonderful rain in dry country, and paddling in puddles – wonderful fun.’
Her hobbies and interests as a young woman included reading, riding horses, helping to look after the property and the kids’ horses, and flying planes.
Her hobbies now are reading, watching television, and doing quizzes.
‘I just let life carry me along,’ she says. ‘I just go with the flow and enjoy life’.
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