Commitment. When Peter met Dot is a love story spanning six decades.
Peter John McLaren was born on June 13, 1937 to Ambrose Frederick and Hazel May McLaren. Dorothy Heald was born on February 5, 1941 to Tasman Charles and Irene Elizabeth Heald.
Peter and Dot met in 1957 when Dot was working at Roger River West milking cows and Peter would drive his truck out to the mill there, and they would wave to each other.
Dot’s brother Tasman Heald would accompany them when they started courting.
Peter proposed at Marj and Joe Nicholls’ place at Redpa where Dot was working.
They were married on August 30, 1958 in the Methodist Church in Smithton and had their reception at the Roger River Hall.
Their bridal party was Dot’s sister Margaret McLaren and cousin Janine Haywood and the flower girl was Betty Avery (nee Kay) while Peter’s niece Helen McLaren was the ring bearer. Peter’s brother Stan McLaren and Dot’s brother Jack Heald were the groomsmen.
They almost had to postpone their wedding as Peter’s grandmother Elizabeth Annie Rundle was unwell, and his mother Hazel McLaren went to look after her.
Hazel died suddenly while caring for her mother on August 14, 1958, while Elizabeth died on August 23, 1958, only a few days before the wedding. As everything had been paid for, they decided not to postpone.
Children followed soon after. Peter and Dot had five children: Vicki (Smith) was born in 1959, Wendy (White) in 1960, Irene ‘Squirt’ (Grey) in 1962, Kenny in 1967 and Amanda (Armstrong) in 1969.
Peter worked as a tree feller for many years, he did the mail run, then he worked at the log yard at Wiltshire, then the maintenance man at Kauri Timber until he retired.
Dot did the mail run, then worked as a barker in the bush to help Peter. Dot worked at McCain’s for many, many years until she retired.
They lived at Roger River until they moved into Smithton in 1975.
Church Rock was a favourite camping spot, and for a number of years they’d camp there until they bought a shack at Arthur River. They had the shack for around 20 years before eventually selling to settle into retired life.
Both have always had a love for country music, and they still attend regular get-togethers. Peter has even recorded a couple of his own CDs titled Martin Music and Down Memory Lane.
Slim Dusty is a big inspiration to Peter, and he wears an Akubra hat just like Slim.
Nowadays they are enjoying a quiet life, attending the draws at the Smithton Club and local RSL and their country music shows, and spending time with their family. Dot still comes to hockey and helps manage the bench for Tigers Hockey Club’s Division Two and Three teams.
She became involved in hockey when her daughters Vicki, Wendy and Squirt started playing.
Dot has only played one game when Tigers were short one day, but she has spectated almost every single Tigers game since they formed in 1978. She’s been a Life Member since 2000.
Dot also was a regular spectator at the footy for Scotchtown as her son-in-laws and some grandsons played, and still helps in the canteen occasionally. She is also a Life Member for Scotchtown Football Club.
Dot used to play softball and badminton too, while Peter enjoyed going to Lodge and is still a member of Lodge Arthur out at Irishtown.
He is a member of the RSL and proudly displays his father’s medals on Anzac Day marches.
The couple has 12 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren with another on the way.
They recently received congratulatory letters from the Queen, Prime Minister, Governor-General, Governor and Premier of Tasmania.