TRIBUTE: From humble beginnings to a better life

Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren at Pauline Otto's wake at the Murgon RSL on 18 July 2023.

Pauline Otto (nee Hay) was born at the Goomeri Hospital on the 9th June 1947, being the second born of twins. Sadly, Pauline’s baby sister, Betty passed away one day later, on the 10th June 1947.

Pauline’s parents were Elizabeth Grace Hay and Walter Gordon Hay. Grace and Walter had six children; Judith, Richard, Lola, Pauline, Betty and Cheryl, who is the remaining sibling.

Soon after Pauline was born, the family moved to Murgon, where Pauline attended Murgon State Primary School and Murgon State High School.

At the early age of 13, Pauline secured employment at Penney’s Grocery Store in Murgon. The extra income helped her mother Grace with the family living expenses, as the family were struggling to afford the basic necessities in life. Pauline went on to complete Year 10 at Murgon State High School while working part-time to assist her mother with the daily family expenses.

Pauline married Trevor (Jack) Otto on the 12th May 1963 and had four children; Murray, Brett, Craig and after three boys, the daughter Pauline and Trevor always wanted, Shelley. In recent years, an additional fourteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren have blessed their family.

Pauline and Trevor recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in May this year. It was very clear that Pauline and Trevor wanted to celebrate this milestone together with their family. This was an incredible love story and still is, with Pauline continuing to have her wedding ring on her finger to this very day.

Pauline and Trevor’s greatest achievement was providing a nurturing and stable home for their four children to feel safe and loved. After struggling with her illness for some years, Pauline passed away peacefully on Tuesday evening the 11th July 2023, with her family by her bedside.

Coming from very humble beginnings, Pauline was fiercely determined to forge a better life for herself and her family. Her various occupations proved she had a remarkably strong skill set and a special way of dealing with the public. Pauline had a strong belief in treating all people with courtesy and respect, no matter what their background or where they came from.

She regularly demonstrated this value in the way she interacted with all people throughout her life. Over a fifty-year period, Pauline worked at the following places; Penney’s Grocery Store, local farms (chipping peanuts), Murgon Hospital, The Peanut Marketing Board, Murgon Pharmacy, Murgon Bakery, the local nursery, a clothes drapery business and local real estate office. Pauline also owned and operated, with her good friend Erna Suchoronczak, the Cosy Café in Lamb Street, Murgon, for approximately five years.

Pauline loved her Scottish heritage and learning about her ancestors. One of Pauline’s favourite outings was taking a trip on the Noosa River Fairy from the Yacht Club at Gympie Terrace and listening to the presentation and story of her Great Grandfather, Walter Hay Senior.

Walter Hay is known today as the ‘Father of Noosa.’

Walter was the first settler to own land in Hastings Street, Noosa. He cut the track that would become the main road from Gympie to Tewantin. Walter was also the first resident of the area that would become Gympie Terrace. The property was called Hilton Park, hence the names Hilton Terrace and Hilton Esplanade. The property was extended to 400 hectares in 1878. Walter went on to build Bayview House on the hill above Noosa Heads in 1882, and in more recent times, the property has been renamed ‘Halse Lodge’ located at the start of Hastings Street.

Pauline was a highly intelligent and proud person who wanted a better life for her family and strongly advocated the importance of education to her four children. Pauline did not have the opportunity for further education, coming from a financially poor family. Pauline and Trevor’s children were the first generation to achieve University degrees.

Murray Otto received an MBA at CQU.

Brett Otto is currently Mayor of the South Burnett Regional Council and was 1 of 6 out of 4000 students at USQ to receive a gold medal for academic performance in Bachelor of Business (Accounting).

Craig Otto was in the top 4 in Queensland for Chartered Accountants (CA).

Shelley Weier (nee Otto) received a Bachelor of Education at USQ and graduated with the top suitability rating.

The children and grandchildren of the Otto family, from a humble background, take up the position of Accountants, Teachers, Australian Army – 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Australian Army – Combat Engineer, Carpenters, Plumber, Mechanical Fitter, Nurse, Banker, Psychologist and Child Safety Officer. All of whom, are benefiting from a family value of hard work, education and making a positive contribution to their community.

Pauline Otto, from humble beginnings, with the tremendous support of her husband, Trevor Otto, has left a remarkable legacy for a better life for generations to come.