Harshness of border closure on show with daughter not allowed to cross Murray River before her mother dies

Happy time: Loretta Mannix-Fell with her mother Therese at a family celebration. A Catholic memorial service is being held in December to honour Mrs Mannix.

Happy time: Loretta Mannix-Fell with her mother Therese at a family celebration. A Catholic memorial service is being held in December to honour Mrs Mannix.

Border crossing red tape left a daughter unable to say goodbye to her dying mother last week.

Loretta Mannix-Fell was stuck 270 kilometres away as her mum Therese Mannix, 96, died in a Tocumwal nursing home on Melbourne Cup day.

Having been told on the Friday that Mrs Mannix had 48 hours to live, her daughter applied on Sunday to enter NSW, after collating documents, only to learn soon after her mother's passing that more material was needed.

"My sister rang me and said 'mum's gone'," Ms Mannix-Fell said on Wednesday.

"As I hung up the phone I then got another call, saying they required additional information, they needed permission from the aged care place to visit mum, and I said 'it's too late mum's died'."

The gut-wrenching situation was raised by the member for Murray Helen Dalton in the NSW parliament this week during a motion about the border shutdown.

"This is the insane cruelty the NSW government has inflicted on our country communities," Mrs Dalton told the Legislative Assembly.

"We should all have the right to have our loved ones by our side during our final moments."

Mrs Dalton said she had dealt with other cases similar to that of Ms Mannix-Fell of relatives seeking to visit dying relatives or attend funerals.

Sign of the times: The message that has greeting motorists entering Tocumwal during the border closure by the NSW government. Picture: TWITTER/GRACE EVANS

Sign of the times: The message that has greeting motorists entering Tocumwal during the border closure by the NSW government. Picture: TWITTER/GRACE EVANS

She said a man at Echuca was left waiting near the bridge across the Murray River to get permission to attend his grandmother's funeral that same day and it was delayed to allow him to mourn in person.

Ms Mannix-Fell, who lives in Melbourne and went to boarding school in Albury, said she had her bags packed ready to travel based on compassionate signals she received from public servants.

"I was absolutely devastated and heartbroken because I nearly killed myself to get there, for want of a better word," she said.

"I had every hope we would get there."

Ms Mannix-Fell hopes the public airing of her plight will ensure better processes and more understanding occurs in the future.

"I don't know how the system works, but I thought we would be put to the top of the table," she said.

"It was almost like 'don't you believe us?'

"It was black and white. It wasn't like I was trying to sneak into NSW to do something, it was a very clear case that mum was dying."

Mrs Mannix had two of her six children, sons Gerard and Terry, at her deathbed.

The former lives at Tocumwal and the latter travelled from Queensland.

Her funeral was held last Thursday with four other siblings, who live in Melbourne unable to attend given the border bureaucracy.

"We decided it would be difficult based on our experience and we didn't want her not at peace indefinitely, when we didn't know what would happen," Ms Mannix-Fell said.

Mrs Mannix had lived at Tocumwal for decades after having moved there with her late husband Harry, who was a stock and station agent.

This story COVID-19's impact cuts to a family's core first appeared on The Border Mail.