Moree farewells Mary Bull

A truly remarkable lady who was well known in the Moree district for her retail store, Moree Sewing Centre, as well as her tennis successes.

Mary Bull was born April 12 1927, the third child of Gavin and Ruby Davis. She grew up in the small village of Ulan which is located approximately 47 kilometres from Mudgee in NSW. She left school at the age of 14 so that she could assist her mother and sister Emily run the house whilst her father and brothers Andy and Gavin tended to the two farming properties.

Her big sister Ann was working in Sydney and so, at age of 17 Mary decided to join her and experience life in the city. It was there that she began her career in sewing by working in the Berlei factory and she soon taught herself the art of dressmaking.

This was the beginning of a long and successful career for Mary and led to the establishment of the Moree Sewing Centre.

She met Gordon in 1947 when he was working on the railway and they married in September 1948 after he was transferred to Moree. Sadly they had only been together for 24 years when Gordon suddenly passed away in 1972.

Throughout this time, they had been on a wonderful journey together, starting their family, buying their first home and opening their own business in 1962.

Mary ran the business for some 45 years, assisted by her daughter Yvonne and family friend Fay.

The Moree Sewing Centre became an institution where you could buy a sewing machine and any sewing items you needed, indulge in a craft like tapestry, embroidery and knitting, or you could have your clothes mended or altered. In addition, Mary introduced suit hire for weddings, formals and special occasions.

This was to be a very wise decision as it gave the Sewing Centre an opportunity to reach a wider audience and create a captive market. She retired and closed the shop at the age of 80 but her love of the business continued when she would take in sewing and machine repairs at home.

Loved by her family, Mary was very well respected in the community and a member of many clubs and organizations in the town.

In her younger years she loved to ride horses and play tennis and was a very keen member of the Moree Tennis Club, playing in the Saturday afternoon competition and many other tournaments in the surrounding areas like Pallamallawa, Garah, Boomi etc.

She played a high standard of tennis and in 1961 won all three events in the Club Championships, Ladies A Grade singles, Ladies A grade doubles and A grade mixed doubles.

A lady of great resilience, Mary survived cancer in 1981, overcame the loss of her husband Gordon in 1972 and the loss of her son Daryl in 1992.

She built her new home in 1989 and experienced two break-ins to her home, the most recent being only this year. Never one to be daunted, she taught herself dressmaking in her early years, learnt how to repair sewing machines and at the age of 80, learnt how to use a computer.

Coming from a simple background, she managed to become a successful business woman and a very well respected member of the community. Mary is survived by her family and leaves behind a lasting legacy for all to remember.