Christina ‘Ruth’ Cameron was born 31 March 1909 at Wingham to Alexander and Agnes Cameron.2 She is believed to have been the first baby born at Nurse Cameron’s Private Hospital which was established in William Street in 1909.3 Ruth grew up on her parents’ farm at Bungay and after completing her schooling worked at the Eclipse Garage for seven years.
During the depression, timber was the area’s strongest industry so Ruth started working for Machin’s Sawmills at Wingham. It was here that she met and later married John Gardiner. For the first six years of her married life Ruth lived at Elands working in the post office John owned and raising their two daughters. In 1950 when Machin’s Sawmill amalgamated with Duncan Holdings, the family moved to Rowley Street, Wingham.4
After her husband’s death in 1971, Ruth became heavily involved in caring for her community. John Machin, president of the Dundaloo Foundation, asked Ruth to be treasurer which she did for over 20 years.5 She was awarded life membership and was patron of the organisation.
Ruth had a long association with Wingham Court, now (2021) called the Whiddon Group, a residential aged care centre. She was a life member of the Women’s Auxiliary and spent one day a week assisting residents. There is a flowering gum planted at Wingham Court in Ruth’s honour. She was also treasurer of the Wingham Presbyterian Women’s Association for nine years.
When Ruth gave up driving she bought a blue scooter in which she would zoom around the streets of Wingham. Her daughter Cate often received phone calls about her mother’s speeding. Ruth was a remarkable woman who lived independently until her passing at the age of 103. She contributed enormously to the community and was referred to as a ‘treasure’.6 She died 28 October 2012 and is buried next to her husband at The Bight cemetery.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Wingham Chronicle, 1 April 2009.
2 NSW BDM, birth index for Christina R Cameron No. 20766/1909.
3 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 19 August 1921, 3; Wingham Chronicle, 28 March 2012.
4 NSW Land Registry Services, Vol-Fol: 5757-73.
5 Dundaloo was and still is in 2021 an organisation which provides services to support people with differing ability levels, https://dundaloo.org.au/
6 Wingham Chronicle, 1 April 2009; 28 March 2012; Oral history from daughter Catherine Potts recorded 2020.