g. Chapter 7 : Margaret Fegan marries Charles Hicks

 “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”   (Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen 1813)

“It is a certain and serious fact that no woman can ever tell what sort of husband she has chosen until she has actually married him.  Now and then one who marries quite as confidently as all others finds that she has made a mistake.”   (The Universal Self Instructor – circa 1880.)


From the Universal Self Instructor

Margaret was a lovely, talented young woman.   Charles and Margaret met at a dance.  He had land, was, athletic and  a local councilor.  What a handsome couple they made.  Hopefully they had opportunity to know each other before they decided to marry!

In the “Hymenial Celebrations” article (18th September 1893) from the “Riverine Herald” the local paper, it was reported that at the wedding, Charles’ father:

“…Mr W. Hicks made a short but pithy, excellent speech stating that his son had always been a good, obedient and industrious young man and he was glad he was getting so good a young lady for a wife and trusted his other sons would choose as wisely”


Is happiness in marriage purely a fluke or the result of hard work?  Margaret’s book “The Universal Self Instructor” painted a grim picture of the misery of the women who got it wrong and ended up with a “stingy” or “reckless” husband.  They had no choice but to endure in those eras.  Divorces were very rare then.

We know that Margaret and Charles were both strong personalities, some lovely and fun stories are still told by their descendants.

“Charles smoked a pipe with black Havelock tobacco.  He was observed one day by his son, Roy to puff a cloud of black smoke into the face of a frill necked lizard on a strainer post, who fell off and Charles snorted.  “….Hmmph, just like the younger generation.  No constitution!” (Written by Lorraine Couchman – nee Hicks 2004)

Another story that my mother, Barbara Pavone (nee Hicks) delighted in telling was that when Margaret ran out of wood for the stove, if there was none cut she would go and get a long branch and poke the end into the stove and wait for her husband to notice (or trip over it) – he would then, muttering and cursing, go and cut her some wood.  Barbara also says that Margaret loved to rearrange the household furniture,  Charles did not appreciate this trait.  (I too love to rearrange the furniture too, as I mentioned earlier)

Albert Fegan

Albert Fegan (Margaret’s brother) and his wife Elizabeth, married in 1888 in the Koyuga Presbyterian Church. Albert was Pam Robbins’ Grandfather.

Eliza Fegan 1890

Eliza Fegan marrying her husband William Waters in 1890, also in the Koyuga Presbyterian church.  What a beautiful dress this must have been.



Margaret and Charles started married life in a tiny skillion cottage.  A few years on and their house was a showpiece of the village, complete with Tennis court and garden parties.  Margaret had her daughter Florence in 1896, Billy in 1898,  Frances who died in 1903 and twins (Roy and Rita) in 1905.   This would have kept her very busy and subsequently she employed her niece, Ethel Fegan as a maid to help out.


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