A Lewiston icon

The Aunger Family

The Aunger name has been ever present in the Two Wells/Lewiston region.

The naming of Aunger Reserve and Aunger Road stands witness to the history of the family in the local area, both presently and in the past.

However, their story is not told in the history books of the area.

Various Aunger names appear in the index, yet their experience and involvement in the local region has not been recorded.

After meeting with 86 year old Betty Aunger, it is easy to understand why.

The Aunger family go about their daily business and don’t dwell on hardships or gloat over success.

Betty was born in 1928 and grew up in Gawler Blocks, what is now known as Evanston Gardens.  

She worked in Gawler at the Myer Clothing factory, currently Steinborner, until she was 26 and married William James Aunger, Bill, in 1954 after meeting him at “the dances” she fondly recalls.

From the day she was married, she moved to the Aunger family homestead in Lewiston and has lived there ever since.

Bill’s grandfather lived and worked the land there, as did Bill’s father, Bill himself, and then Bill and Betty’s sons, Geoffrey, Lionel and Reg.

700 acres saw the family work hard throughout the years.

Sheep, cows, pigs, chickens and ducks were kept and wheat, barley and oats were cropped.

Crops of sheaf hay, which could grow to about 1.5 metres in height, were cut with a reaper and binder machine.

After binding, the hay was put into little piles called stooks, where they would dry out and then be placed onto the back of a truck for delivery which required a lot of hard work.

Betty also remembers milking cows by hand, “it was very cold on the hands early in the morning”, and she was very glad when they bought some milking machines.

The milk from those cows was picked up every morning and taken into Adelaide, and their cream was taken to the butter factory in Gawler.

Shearers were brought in to shear the sheep and some were taken to the abattoir.

Betty would rear day old chicks, sell their eggs and also ‘dress’ the chickens ready to sell to the butchers.

Tragedy visited the family when Bill passed away in 1976 from cancer.

 18 months later Betty suffered more heartache when their eldest son Geoffrey passed away at only 22 years of age due to a heart defect that he was born with.

Lionel and Reg then had to help their mother on the farm, with Lionel continuing to help even after he was married with his own family.

Betty is proud of her boys, and speaks warmly of her daughters-in-law and four grandchildren.

Not only is there Aunger Road named after the family, but also Betty Road, Lionel Road, James Road and Geoffrey Street as a nod to their personal history in the area.

Betty has noticed many changes to the surrounding farm land “there are a lot more houses popping up”, she comments.

Despite the sadness she endured earlier on in life, Betty continues with a positive outlook and is enjoying some travelling in her retirement, especially four wheel driving with friends around country South Australia.

She enjoys the Corstons mystery day trips and keeps busy with the Senior Citizens and the Country Women’s Association, for which she received her 30 years certificate in 2011.

And for now she is happily staying put, there are no plans to leave her Lewiston homestead of 60 years, only if it involves cruising around with friends in a 4WD.

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