Pauline Florence Nugent was born on 16 January, 1939 to James (Jim) & Mary McKinley. She was the eldest child and sister to James, Ron, Teena and John. Pauline was born at the beginning of WW2, and during the war years she lived with her large extended family in Wollstonecraft, Sydney. She attended school at St Mary’s at Ridge Street,North Sydney where she was to meet many lifelong friends. As a child Pauline was a tomboy, preferring to play cricket and other sports with the boys in the street. Her love of animals was evident when she would bring home strays or orphaned animals, even skeletons and skulls.
Upon leaving school, Pauline pursued nursing and joined The Children’s Hospital at Camperdown, where she lived for some time. Visiting the Royal Easter Show regularly, she met and eventually married Graeme Nelson in 1962, and moved to Kangaroo Valley, on the property known as ‘Glenorma’. During their years on the farm, Graeme and Pauline welcomed four children into their family. In 1976, Pauline married Paul Nugent, who became a well known KV identity through his involvement with Pauline in several business ventures.
It was an absolute privilege to be Pauline’s child. Sam, Andrew, Lizzie and I were the recipients of an unconditional, absolute love. Throughout our younger years, Pauline was a strict mum; we were raised with definite boundaries but lots of love. She had the hugest heart and capacity for love and cherished her wider extended family. The door of our home was always wide open to family and friends. Pauline valued a strong work ethic, a good education and loyalty, and I think she instilled these values in us all. Mum’s energy levels never ceased to amaze, and as a younger person she lived life in the fast lane. She always had a business venture up her sleeve and demonstrated ambition and drive in doing so. Such ventures included the establishment of Glenmack Park, running tearooms and a gift shop where the General Café and General Store operate now, and building ‘The Heavens’ at Barrengarry.
Pauline’s capacity for compassion and care was evident in her chosen first profession of nursing. Mum often spoke of her nursing service and how she loved caring for her patients. Later on Mum followed the palliative care path, and was able to provide solace for many families. This part of her life was very important to her. I deeply admired her strength in being there for others.
As we grew up Mum would playfully nag us about when she was going to get to be a grandmother. Well, she certainly did! Mum was fortunate enough to welcome 14 beautiful grandchildren into her life, and in 2022 her first great grandchild Lincoln, who brought an incredible amount of joy to her. As a grandmother Pauline was devoted and loving, but also playful and loved a bit of teasing and fun. She loved to know all about their daily goings-on and would check in to see what her grandchildren were all up to. We shared many celebrations over the years as a family, and mum was always the glue that held us together. She loved to be involved and enjoyed a good party and a bit of a tipple too!
Pauline’s empathy and care for animals was boundless, whether it be wildlife, dogs, cats, birds or alpacas. On grocery shopping excursions, her priority was to always ensure there was enough food purchased for the menagerie before she thought of her own needs. Many of Mum’s lifelong friends have come through her association with animals, especially her friends in the alpaca industry. As young people we grew up in a household where it was not uncommon for there to be countless joeys hanging from bags on the kitchen and laundry cupboards and little wombats biting at your feet or the cockatoo chasing you around the house.Her neighbours in Jenanter Drive will testify to the fact that the cockatoos and possums of KV knew exactly where to go for a feed.
The empathy that Mum showed did not limit itself to stray animals. Mum was a people person as well. She would pick hitchhikers up and bring them home, invite anyone who needed company to stay, and had a huge friendship group spanning a lifetime. She valued each and every one of these friendships, and the many people who visited her in her final days and years are a testament to the compassionate, caring person Mum was and the strength of the relationships she cherished.
Pauline will be will be forever loved, remembered and missed by her family, friends and community.
Rest easy Mum.