Former globe trotter finds a place to call home at Bethanie Subiaco.
As a wife to a petroleum engineer, Mary Clark, led an exciting life travelling the world by her husband’s side.
Making strange environments a home was something Mary had always been familiar with. Even as a child growing up in south-east London, Mary was evacuated to the country during the war.
Shortly after Mary and her husband Peter were married, they moved to Turkey. This is where her adventurous life began.
Ignoring the rules handed down by Peter’s new job, Mary stealthily followed her husband to a Turkish mining town, so they could remain together as newlyweds.
This was in an era where women were deemed unlucky on the rigs. Despite this, Mary laughed about a memory of her drilling part of the hole on the site in the hunt for petroleum.
“Maybe I was unlucky because they soon found there was no oil,” she laughed.
They then moved to Bahrain for seven years where she raised her two boys.
After a short stint in New York City, Peter was transferred to work in Nigeria. On route, the family stopped off in Holland for three months.
“It may have been beautiful for some but when you are wrestling two young boys it can be quite a handful,” she laughed.
“We changed hotels during our stay because I think they might have had enough of us.”
Nigeria was a very different experience. Mary described her lifestyle as rather lavish, as she employed local housekeepers to provide her with daily support around the home.
“Lots of funny things happened,” Mary explained. “My friend was hosting a dinner party and asked the housekeeper to put mustard in the little pot sets. Later, she found mustard had been put into her optrex eye baths as well!”
Unfortunately, while Mary’s family were enjoying their new life in Nigeria, there was an uprising.
“We saw a lot of horrific incidents. One day we saw the train coming through town with people hanging off wherever they could to escape. It was then we were cut off from the north.”
Much to Mary’s anguish, the day prior she had sent her passport up to be renewed.
“So not only did I have no passport, but we were being threatened with evacuation. I kept wondering which country would take me without a passport,” she said.
Eventually the passport arrived, and the family were evacuated to England. She recalls her family being one of the lucky ones as they could keep most of their possessions.
Some of her friends were not so lucky and left with only a suitcase.
Over the next few years the family moved between England, Tehran, Bahrain, Perth, Melbourne, back to England, then finally returning to Perth to call Bethanie Subiaco home number 35.
“Peter moved to Bethanie Subiaco before I did because he needed support with some of his health conditions. By the time I moved in, I already knew everyone!” she said.
“I was very happy to come and live here. If I hadn’t been here after Peter passed away, especially during COVID, I think I would have been very lonely. Everyone here is so welcoming and happy. I like to make jokes about myself, so people laugh with me and not at me,” she laughed.
Mary is 88 years old and has lived at Bethanie Subiaco Aged Care Home since 2017.
For more information about Bethanie Subiaco, please call 131 151 or visit: https://www.bethanie.com.au/care-homes/locations/bethanie-subiaco