Catherine Doris DOWLING

DOWLING, Catherine Doris

Service Number: SF84281
Enlisted: 10 December 1942, Wayville, SA
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: Not yet discovered
Born: Waikerie, South Australia, 7 January 1921
Home Town: Waikerie, Loxton Waikerie, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Salesgirl
Died: Waikerie, South Australia, 24 December 1999, aged 78 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Waikerie General Cemetery, SA
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World War 2 Service

10 Dec 1942: Involvement Gunner, SF84281
10 Dec 1942: Enlisted Wayville, SA
10 Dec 1942: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SF84281
18 Jul 1946: Discharged

Catherine Doris Dowling

Catherine grew up in Waikerie , and besides a few years in other States with the Army, she lived and raised her children in Waikerie. Her life went from working in the town at the hospital, to become a "blocker" with her husband, Gavin.
Catherine and her brother Terry enjoyed the country life especially with the River Murray close by. It is evident that Catherine had a bond with her brother from the many photos Fan took of the two together.

Her early life began at her parents' place on West Road just out of Waikerie, at the newly built house which had plenty of open spaces and even a garden. An inscription on the back of the photo to the left reads " The Young Blocker is a Bonsa O'malory".

In the war years, both Catherine and Terry joined the forces. Catherine joined the Army, and Terry joined the Air Force. Her role was in Signals as a driver which took her to W.A. and N.S.W.

Catherine eventually returned to Waikerie in 1947 to work as a nurse in the local hospital. It was here that she met her future husband Gavin who was in hospital with a bad case of pharyngitis. Gavin had come to Waikerie as a trainee war service settler and had an immediate bond for the attractive Catherine and proposed to her on Granite Island near Victor Harbor. Gavin had been a boarder at St.Peter's College, so they thought it would be a fit place to get married in the school's chapel. They were married on the 17th of November 1948.

In the same year they took up residence on the block that Gavin was awarded under the soldier settlement scheme. Gavin relates that "a blocker's life was hard and you ended up with bugger all". Their first child, Sue was born followed by five more children. Catherine helped Gavin on the block and drove the tractor with other chores that needed to be done. Her help was appreciated but as time went by Gavin thought it might be better if Catherine spent her time with the domestic side of marriage.

Holidays were important and many happy times were spent at the beach with the children. In the sixties Catherine and Gavin travelled to Mildura in their Holden Brougham towing their caravan. When they were coming home , they had an accident where the caravan turned upside down and was wrecked and considerable damage done to their car. The car and the caravan were taken back to Wentworth. Catherine and Gavin stayed there for two days while the car was repaired and they were able to drive home again although without the caravan as it took much longer to repair.

As the years progressed, Catherine had times of depression and spent some time in hospital. Catherine improved and in 1983, they went for another holiday to New Zealand. Catherine's father, Terry died and the next year, unfortunately, her mother also died. It was decided to move into Waikerie Township to Fan and Terry's house in Pflaum Street. Gavin had started playing bowls in 1959 and in later years Catherine joined him, playing mixed bowls which they both enjoyed. They eventually sold their house and moved into Harden Street where Gavin cared for Catherine as her health had declined and Gavin became her carer until she died in 1999.

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