Alison Isobel Holgate was born in Greymouth New Zealand on November 6, 1930, the daughter of Marjorie and George Armstrong, a local storekeeper, and grew up in Ngahere. She had a younger sister Gwen. They had strong Scottish connections as her grandparents were migrants from Scotland. Alison attended primary school in Ngahere and later Greymouth Technical High School, travelling 40 kilometres daily by bus. She completed her nursing studies in Christchurch and then worked as a theatre sister in Greymouth. She met David Douglas, an electrical engineer in Greymouth and they were married in 1955 and lived in Christchurch.
In 1956 their first son Ian arrived. Because of David's profession in hydro-electric power station construction, they had several moves. In 1958 they went to Mangakino in the North Island where their daughter Janet was born.
Their next move was to Wellington and later on to Otemata in the South Island, to work in the new construction of Lake Benmore and link to provide electricity to the North Island. Here another son Grant was born in 1965. They returned to Wellington where David was "stuck" in the office, until he was invited by Sir William Hudson to come and work on the Snowy Scheme. So, in September 1966 they immigrated to Australia and Cooma. More different homes for Alison, but she had settled herself into so many new locations, furnished homes, established gardens and gone without some items she enjoyed, like a piano.
Alison excelled at craft, sewing, knitting, did professional tailoring, and making clothes for the children (sometimes with questionable taste? Like yellow terry toweling board shorts for sailing, etc.) She did beautiful wool spinning and tapestry weaving. She often cooked three meals a day.
Sometimes the family weren't keen on grey meat stews or ham and raisin sandwiches but she was an excellent cook of scones and sponge cakes. She was a very involved mother and always had a cup of tea ready for her family or friends. She was a very committed letter writer to many friends and family.
Alison's husband David Douglas passed away in 1983. She and David Holgate formed a close friendship and they were married in 1987. It was a great event for her family, which also lead to resurgence of her activities in craft groups, the Caledonian Society Scottish country dancing, the Raglan Gallery and meals on wheels. She also participated in producing a mosaic time walk in Sharp Street.
A cruel and sad deterioration of her life was developing dementia, and her family paid tribute to David for his fantastic care and kindness and also to the staff of Sir William Hudson Nursing Home in her last day.
Alison passed away on her 82nd birthday on November 6 2012. A celebration of her life was held at St. Andrews Uniting Church with a service conducted by Reverend Jenni Roberts.
The eulogy was given by her husband David and son Ian. Readings were by Lyndal Douglas and Bonnie Reid. Pallbearers were Ian, Grant, Alasdair Douglas and James Holgate. Alison's remains were laid to rest in the Cooma Lawn Cemetery.