Peggy met her husband Claude while riding her bicycle to work at the North Ipswich Woollen Mills.
Peggy met her husband Claude while riding her bicycle to work at the North Ipswich Woollen Mills.

She's a battler and spinner

PEGGY Windle spent her childhood at work among the smell of freshly sheared wool, making the clothes that kept soldiers warm.

She doesn't know where she was born or who her parents were, only that Ipswich has always been home.

When Peggy was a baby she was adopted by an Ipswich couple who ran an optometry business opposite the Ipswich Post Office on Brisbane St.

Peggy spent many of her earlier years there until she moved to Cairns with her adopted mother after her adopted father suddenly died.

After about seven years, Peggy's adopted mother became sick and they moved back to Ipswich. She died not long after and Peggy was orphaned again.

At 12-years-old Peggy was granted special permission to leave school and go to work at the North Ipswich Woollen Mills because there was no one left to take care of her.

She started out in the spinning room, along with many other women employed at the Queensland Woollen Manufacturing Company during the Second World War.

Peggy moved in with relatives at East Ipswich and walked to work every day until her boss Mr Morgan found out.

"It was during the war years... and sometimes I was doing night shift," Peggy, now 96, said.

"Mr Morgan told me I couldn't be walking that far 'in these times' and sent me to get a bike from a man he knew."

 

Peggy Windle was adopted as a baby and started work at 12.
Peggy Windle was adopted as a baby and started work at 12. Helen Spelitis

That wasn't the only time Mr Morgan helped young Peggy during her time working at the mills.

On pay day, the relatives Peggy was living with began collecting her wages.

Mr Morgan caught wind of that and intervened, telling Peggy he would keep her wages safe instead.

Not long after that, the relatives left town, leaving Peggy alone for the third time.

"I had nowhere to live any more," Peggy said.

"When Mr Morgan found out, he said 'Peg you're coming to live with us'.

"I worked there for about 10 years and loved it.

"Mr Morgan got me moved from the spinning room to the weaving room while I was there. He was a great friend of mum's."

The bike Mr Morgan gave Peggy also led her to her husband Claude.

Claude had relatives living around Woodend who had told him about Peggy.

They both rode their bicycles to work and one morning Claude stopped Peggy to introduce himself.

"We got friendly and went together for about three years before we got married," Peggy said.

"It was a modest wedding. It was all on coupons then 'cause of the war.

"He had the sugar (diabetes) and one day, I came home to find him lying on the floor."

Claude died not long after.

Today Peggy lives happily at Rosewood Cabanda Care where the staff are "lovely".


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