Big bash honours elder on birthday

Daneka HillNorth West Telegraph
Maggie Dhu turned 90 on August 8, and will have a larger party on the weekend in Marble Bar were many of her children live
Camera IconMaggie Dhu turned 90 on August 8, and will have a larger party on the weekend in Marble Bar were many of her children live Credit: North West Telegraph/Daneka Hill

The 90th birthday of Maggie Dhu was a big deal for her friends and family but the woman herself asked for only two things — two dollars, to be exact.

The humble request was a way of adding towards her savings to get herself out of the Pilbara and into the NSW town of Kempsey to visit the famous Slim Dusty Centre.

An avid fan of the country music legend, Mrs Dhu celebrated her birthday party in Port Hedland on Wednesday surrounded by family and friends.

Slim Dusty’s Cinderella was played during the cake cutting ceremony, which turned into a joyful and tearful affair as everyone gathered to kiss her on the cheek.

Mrs Dhu said she never expected to reach 90 and had a “normal straight-forward” life despite plenty of hardships.

In 1929 Mrs Dhu was born on Mt Satirist Station, about 70km south of Port Hedland, to Alf and Chloe Lockyer.

Growing up, Mrs Dhu was separated from her parents as part of the Stolen Generation and worked as a household servant on stations and later a cleaner at Port Hedland’s old hospital after she married Ned Dhu.

The Ngarluma elder said her first childhood memories were of her sitting in a washing tub while old women sat around doing their laundry and riding with her father on his horse, tucked in front of him on the saddle while he checked fences.

At her party, friends told of how she used to open her house up to indigenous women flown into Port Hedland to give birth and how she tirelessly looked after her younger siblings.

Mrs Dhu has nine children, eight living in Marble Bar and one working in Tom Price, and a “big mob” of grandkids and great-great-grandkids.

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