Mary Mulhall: Angel of the Year 2022

Mary Mulhall: Angel of the Year 2022 L-R: Claire Fox Roadtrip Creative, Mary Mulhall, Winner Angel of the Year and Ami Zielinski CWM Credit: Diana Smith Photography

Mary Mulhall is a familiar face seen in the Molong community helping others tirelessly in any capacity she has, and says she helps others because she can.

Mary has become community figure-head with a ready laugh and bright eyes who is well-respected for going above and beyond when ordinary people find themselves in need of a hand and while not a fan of the limelight herself, she’ll tell you she is just doing what she loves.

The causes she assists are out of her control, but she helps regain some dignity for the people involved, so this week finds her feeding and sheltering many of the town’s homeless and traumatised flood-victims at the town’s RSL club, just a week after the celebrating the completion of the Molong convent renovation.

Mary and Philipa Waters at the Old Convent-0a3d25bf

Young and free in the country

As a young woman, Mary enjoyed a busy social life and was an accomplished tennis and netball player. She worked as a receptionist at the local GP clinic and here she saw and appreciated Molong’s friendliness in the town. At the clinic she also met her husband-to-be, where (with a seemingly quick recovery after seeing the doctor) he asked her out the same day to dinner that night.

Mary and Michael married and had three children. She kept working, and one day when their third child was two years old she was asked to assist at a sports carnival, who were short of hands. By coming to assist she found her calling.

When they retired from running the Molong Pool, she got a job at Franklins, Orange, but soon tired of the commute and decided to become a family day care mum in 2000, until 2015.

“Those kids – some are turning 21, some are 18 and just graduating – they were, and still are, a beautiful bunch of children. To this day, as soon as some of them see me they come and talk to me, give me a kiss and a cuddle and say hello. It’s so lovely that most of them are still around and most of them still remember me.”

For the love of volunteering

Mary Mulhaul, Manager Molong Vinnies-0abedd75

For 15 years, Mary has been President and managed Molong’s St Vincent de Paul. At any one time she oversees 30-40 volunteers assisting people experiencing poverty and inequality, and working as a friendly team improving society.

Incredibly, she also has for the past 20 years held the positions of President, Honorary Secretary and Licensee on the Molong RSL Board.

Mary Mulhaul at the Molong RSL-4574d3d0

Team spirit

Mary has been heavily involved helping at the men’s rugby twice – where Michael played during the 1960-70s – and again since 1999 when her boys started playing and asked her to run the canteen. She still runs the canteen, washes all the footy guernseys each week, is club Secretary and helps out where needed. “All they’ve got to do is give me a ring,” she laughs.

“My grandkids calls me Big Ma, and so the rugby boys call me Mother Mary – and the year before last when I talked about retiring from the rugby canteen kiosk, the boys bought a caravan so I could work off the side-line…and it’s called the Queen Mary! So, I sit on a chair with castors and roll backwards and forwards in it like I’m on roller-skates! It’s so nice the boys think of me like that.”

Recipe for laughter

Mary believes that if you help one another, you’ll be rewarded in the end. She is a strong believer that if we are able to help then we should do so in any way we can, and we are rewarded for it in the end.

This experience was tangible, she said, after the recent completion of Molong’s convent’s three-month renovation by Team Ukraine volunteers – which Mary was an integral part of – when days after the two Ukrainian families moved in she heard the un-checked laughter of the three little boys outside watering the garden, forgetting their old world.

Mary Mulhaul at the Molong Convent opening-2ca62025

“The laughter and happiness coming out of those children and families was beyond anything you can imagine. It was just beautiful to see them playing in the water and squirting me. And their mums said ‘we could not have done this at home’. I cannot say how good it was to seem them play and come up to me with high fives.”

Happy days

Today, Mary enjoys cooking and watching the cricket in her spare time, but remains involved with the church and widening the circle of influence of Vinnies through furnishing vacant homes for women’s emergency housing, and loves spending time with Michael, their family and grand-children. “

Diana Smith

I'm an Orange-based photographer, writer, face painter and book designer. I enjoy meeting the lovely folk of our community and have been involved in publishing/media/comms for about 15 years. I have done several exhibitions and in 2022 published my own childrens story, 'The Mouses Houses.'

Read Posts