Margaret Whitlam, one of Australia's most influential and well-loved prime minister's wives, has died at the age of 92.
Born on November 19, 1919, Margaret Elaine Dovey was the daughter of NSW Supreme Court Judge Wilfred Dovey and first rose to prominence as a champion swimmer, representing Australia in the 1938 Empire Games.
She married Gough Whitlam in April 1942 at the height of the second World War, during which time the couple both showed an active interest in politics through their support of the election of the Curtin government in 1943.
Mrs Whitlam completed a degree in social studies at the University of Sydney in 1938, and practised as a social worker, including a three year period at Parramatta District Hospital while Mr Whitlam was federal opposition leader.
She was also heavily involved in Mr Whitlam's political career, working within his electorate, and as an active member of the Labor Party Women's Conference.
She accompanied Mr Whitlam on his major overseas visits as opposition leader, including a trip to Saigon during the Vietnam war, and Mr Whitlam's landmark visit to China, which occurred shortly before the Nixon administration announced it was normalising relations with the communist superpower.
The Whitlams had four children: sons Nicholas, Tony and Stephen, and a daughter Catherine.
'I can do some good'
Upon Mr Whitlam's ascension to the prime ministership, Mrs Whitlam quickly known as an outspoken advocate for issues including women's rights and conservation.
Despite public criticism she refused to limit herself to traditional preconceptions of what a prime minister's wife should do, continuing her active role in the media she had built up during Mr Whitlam's time as opposition leader.
“What am I to do? Stay in a cage – wide open to view, of course – and say nothing? That's not on, but if I can do some good I'll certainly try,” she wrote in her diary in December 1972.
She was a regular guest speaker on radio and television, and wrote a column for the magazine Woman's Day where she offered an insight into the life of a prime minister's wife.
'I can't forgive them'
Mrs Whitlam was outspoken about the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975, saying she told Mr Whitlam he should have torn up the letter from then governor general John Kerr.
“He said something about he'd given him a note sacking him. I said, 'why didn't you tear it up?' he said 'oh, I couldn't do that'. Silly man, I'd have torn it up; who was to know he'd been given anything,” she said in a 1993 interview.
She also spoke of her anger at John Kerr and Malcolm Fraser's role in the dismissal.
“I've always regarded people like John Kerr and Malcolm Fraser with scorn – scorn for what they did, scorn for what they didn't do,” she said.
“In a way it wasn't so much what they did, but the way that they did it that was so wrong.
“And I just couldn't understand them, I couldn't forgive them, I can't forgive them.”
After the dismissal, Ms Whitlam continued her prominent role as an advocate serving on bodies such as the Sydney Dance Company, International Literacy Year, International Women's year, and the Law Foundation of new South Wales.
In 2006 she courted controversy by refusing to apologise to Janette Howard, the wife of then prime minister John Howard, after calling her useless.
A biography of Ms Whitlam quoted her as saying Mrs Howard failed to carry out the obligations of a prime minister's wife.
“She is useless in terms of how little she really gives the community,” she said in the book.
“She doesn't even go to the old people's homes that Howard visits. The only thing she goes to is big, public things.
“I fear she's a steely woman. never contributing anything else but a smile. Nor a grin – a grin indicates some sense of humour.”
In 1983 she was awarded the Order of Australia, and in 2007 along with Mr Whitlam was made national life members of the ALP.
Mrs Whitlam is survived by her husband Gough Whitlam and their four children.
Poetry is a distillation of emotion. Poets write and expound on a variety of topics. Death is one of the poets’ favored topics. Due to this, a number of poems have been made available to us through the ages that are focused on this theme.
When making a speech or eulogy at a funeral, these eulogy poems could be used within a speech to convey your own emotions. when at a loss on what to say, you could borrow or quote from a number of poets. a list of these poets who have made eulogy poems are William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Walt Whitman, William Butler Yeats, and many others.
Sometimes, when making a speech we run out of words. during these times, it is perfectly acceptable to incorporate famous sayings to make our point. so it is in a funeral eulogy. Sometimes it is enough to quote eulogy poems rather than compose our own speeches. this would help considerably in a time of grief. For this purpose, a collection of eulogy poems has been compiled, as well as other guides and books to help in the task of making a funeral eulogy, during the difficult times following the death of a loved one.
The eulogy poems are beautifully worded expressions of grief and musings on the idea of dying. There are a number of them around and it is easy to browse through a collection to look for an appropriate poem for your specific purpose.