Eileen Malcolm had a long life, a good life.
She was born at Warracknabeal on 19th July 1910, 86 years ago.
Mother Ellen made a fast trip by horse and buggy the 10 miles from Sheep Hills and
arrived just in time.
Sheep Hills is in the Wimmera. It is now a small railway siding with grain silos,
a few houses, a disused pub, a War Memorial and a Mechanic's Institute Hall.
In 1910 it was a typical thriving small rural community providing accommodation
for the rural workers who were then so important to Australia's economy. In 1910,
it had four churches and a State School.
Father George was a saddler and mother Ellen carried out the chores of running the
When Eiley was born, they already had one daughter, Mary.
They later had George, Gerrard and Anne.
My mother Anne was also born in a hospital. This time Ellen travelled to "Warrack"
on the afternoon mixed goods train for her confinement. I wonder what the guard
Anne and Tom are here today.
Mary's daughters Betty and Margaret are with us today. Anyone who wants to know
what Mary looked like does not need a photo, they only need to look at Betty and
Gerard's daughter Bev, a Sister of Mercy and a teacher is in Queensland on a conference.
She sent her condolences.
Anne's daughter Val, is on holiday in the UK with her husband Tony Box. The Box
family is very well represented today. Michael Box will say something later.
I am told Eileen was a popular member of the local tennis club and she boasted that
she had a pretty mean back hand.
When she was 15, Eiley left home and crossed the road to work as a nanny and housekeeper
for the Sheep Hills Station Master.
She later went to work for Aunty Melia as a waitress and cook.
They ran pubs in many different towns.
I have been in two of the pubs they ran. The Shamrock in Donald and the Citizens
Park in Richmond.
Eiley told me many stories about police raids for after hours drinking and the excuses
given for having large crowds of people in the public bar of a Sunday.
One excuse that did not go down well with the local magistrate was in the middle
of summer with a hot North wind blowing. On a day that would now be declared a "Total
Fire Ban" day, the group was supposed to be gathering to do a "burn off".
During the Second World War, Eiley worked as an inspector in the ammunition factory
at Deer Park.
Eiley never married. When she was 22, she did have a long courtship with a gentleman
friend but life as a farmer's wife did not appeal. This gentleman later joined the
railways and became a Station Master. Eiley wondered what her life would have been
like if she had married him.
I first remember Eiley in a Milk Bar near Kew Junction caring for Aunty Melia in
her last days.
Eileen also cared for her mother before she died. They lived just behind this church
in Harvey St. Eiley earned extra money by packaging shoe laces on piece rates.
Eiley moved to the King Street flats about 20 years ago. It was quite a big change
in her life, but she made new friends quickly.
Val was her great friend.
Last year, Eiley's health failed to the extent that she needed full time nursing
care. She was extremely lucky to get a place with Lynn Nursing Home. In the year
she had there she was very happy and seemed to be popular with the staff.
Last Sunday she was excited to move into a new room on her own where she could keep
a better eye on the staff. Eiley was a keen observer of people.
Michelle showered her just before she died. Eiley had been having a good laugh and
died quickly and peacefully.
The whole family appreciate the wonderful care Eiley got from the dedicated staff
at the nursing home. We all thank you.
Eiley was my God mother. She tried to set a good example. I never heard her swear
or saw her have a drink. I think she did smoke but gave up a long time ago.
She did like the punt and liked to watch or listen to the footy.
Eiley is survived by Anne and Tom.
Anne was a good caring younger sister.
We all know that Tom and Eiley had a special relationship. Dad was ill on Eiley's
86th birthday and could not attend. Eiley was very upset and worried and did not
cheer up until she spoke to him on the phone.
Mum and Dad are both very sad to lose Eileen but are relieved that her ending came
so peacefully and quickly.
Thank you everyone for coming and celebarting Eileen Malcolm's life.
May she rest in peace.