Mothers’ Day is always a significant day for Regis Bunbury resident and born and bred West Australian Marion Nixon, not only because she has five children of her own, but also because she was a foster mum to three indigenous children whom she considers equal to her own flesh and blood.

Marion, a grandmother to 18 grandchildren, including those from her foster children, is very much the matriarch of her large family and is, by her own admission, always spoilt by the eight children she raised when Australia’s special day for mums comes around each year, which this year falls on Sunday 14 May.

Born in Corrigin, a town in the central Wheatbelt region of WA, on 15 February 1936, Marion spent her childhood near Hyden, where her parents were pioneer farmers, until she was sent to Presbyterian Ladies’ College as a border when she was a young teenager.

The experience of being away from home spawned her desire for wanderlust and, after leaving school in the early 1950s, Marion embarked upon an adventure which saw her travel through Europe on her own – something that was highly unusual for women at the time.

“Travelling in so many different countries on my own was a wonderful adventure, though it made me realise the importance of a good pair of walking shoes,” laughs Marion, who has lived at Regis Bunbury for the past three years.

“But I was equally excited to return home, marry my sweetheart John, and then start a family on our farm at Dalwallinu. Having my own children, and then being a foster mum to three others, has been an incredibly rewarding experience in so many ways.

“I particularly loved homeschooling them all while they were growing up on Beverley Springs Station up on the Gibb River Road, which we bought in 1968.”

Son, Jack Nixon, said the family always treasured spending time with Marion, who worked for many years on the family farm and then the station, and whom he describes as a dynamic woman with an adventurous spirit who could organise and manage pretty much anything, not least the parenting of eight energetic children.

“Our mum has always been truly marvellous, and it’s wonderful that she is still here with us to enjoy special times with her large family,” he says. “Us kids visit her regularly, and she just loves spending time with all of us.”

Regis Bunbury General Manager, Kylie Marquart, says that staff always hold a special lunch on Mothers’ Day for all of the mums at the aged care home.

“Mothers’ Day is a wonderful opportunity for us to recognise the special bond between mums and their children, and also to recognise the selfless dedication, love and care they have for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and in Marion’s case, the huge amount of love she has bestowed on the foster children who she treats just like her own,” she says.