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Eleanor was born on 26th August 1923 in Dimboola Victoria to parents Arthur (a real estate agent) and Emma (Pem) Herold (Winkelman) (school teacher and then principle at St Leonard's Presbyterian Girls College). Eleanor liked to tell us of how much longer she lived compared with her parents who passed away in their 70's. They continued living in Dimboola for 10+ years. One of Eleanor's stories from then is of her riding the horse & cart taking little brother Graeme, five years younger, to school in rain or shine.
The family moved to Essendon before next moving to Allfrey Street Brighton when Eleanor was a teenager(?) and this was to have long term implications. Eleanor taught Sunday School.
After attending Essendon High School, Eleanor got a job in the National Bank and become personal secretary to a manager Mr. John Farren Webb, the first John Webb in her life. Eleanor honed her secretarial skills and became John's "right hand man". One story was how she would take meeting minutes by shorthand and she was pretty good at it. However for one quite important meeting she just couldn’t keep up with the meeting pace but still pretended she was recording everything. Later she confessed this to John and he said "Yes, certainly, I knew we were going too fast but it sure created a great impression for my clients to see what an efficient and capable secretary you are". They remained lifetime friends after she left the bank.
While at the bank, Eleanor became friends with Gladys Meldrum. That led to her meeting Gladys brother Ian who, during the WWII when he was in Australia, would visit Gladys, Eleanor was a bit shy and hid away from this handsome guy but eventually they were introduced and things developed from there. They corresponded over the war and got together afterwards whilst Ian recovered and were married in November 1950 at Scots Presbyterian Church Melbourne. Their photo was in the newspaper for being a "tall couple" as Eleanor was 5ft 10 inch & Ian 6 ft.
Eleanor became part of the Meldrum family at 4 Sylverly Grove with all the inlaws - Gladys & Roy, Peter & Elizabeth, Bill & Molly and their children Pat & John as well as all the Coote family relatives on Ian's mother's side. In 1955 John, their one & only son arrived. Eleanor suffered very high blood pressure for a couple of months before I arrived and needed to be in bed, she never mentioned that to me, I was also born by caesarean.
Family members from the country or interstate made Sylverly Grove their Melbourne home base, especially in the 50's, 60's and 70's. It was a happy & open home, the house itself wasn't too big & thinking about it, marvel at how everyone fitted in. The "sleepout" a separate building out the back was used as another guest's bedroom & also became my room at a young age.
Christmas was always wonderful, we had big celebrations, relatives coming from afar. Uncle Roy, managed the food delivery in a Sydney hospital and always arranged to bring hams & Christmas puddings. Eleanor would always make two delicious double iced Christmas cakes. She loved cooking (I think, because she did so much of it!) and was often sweating away in the kitchen. She was a great cake & biscuit maker. Her shortbread recipe continues on with Sally exporting it to Hong Kong! Ian of course loved fishing but Eleanor really only enjoyed eating the fresh fish along with great deep fried chips, almost a weekly highlight.
Eleanor & Ian both loved entertaining and socializing and had many close friends beyond the family. Countless wonderful dinner and garden parties. Initially with Ian's close friends from Shell, Phil & Joyce Trewin, Mal & Marge McPherson and their children. We all went off on summer holidays as well as entertaining in each other's homes and other outings. Later Lea Ponton became a lifelong friend as were Ken Fricker & Elizabeth Cooper and younger folks like Doug & Trish Shadbolt, as well as Maxine & Allan DeRozario. Later other good and close friends like Ray & Sheila Gunson, Leon & Zara Bodna as well as the Sylverly Grove neighbours like Jack & Rosamond Krauskopf.
Eleanor returned to work as a secretary with one notable appointment with business consultant Keith Donaldson and this led to another group of friends, the "Band Group" as initially they all attended band and orchestra recitals at Melbourne Town Hall. Keith & Sylvia Donaldson, Don & Zena Slade, Arthur & Jean Bentley, Jack & Joyce Chapman and Lloyd & Muriel Markham.
Another amusing story from 1961 was Eleanor "hiding away" for safekeeping four 5 pound notes in an Illustrated History book, then "forgetting" about them only to later throw the book out during a paper recycling campaign. Shortly after she remembered and contacted the paper company, after a big search the book & notes were found, indeed, five were found and Eleanor bought Tatts tickets for all concerned. Five pounds was probably a LOT of money back then.
After leaving Keith's business, Eleanor found a job as a legal secretary in 1964 with the second John Webb and this was to be a very long lasting association as Eleanor continued to work through to her 70's. Initially in Collins Street and then to Hampton and Sandringham, much more convenient. Again Eleanor showed her dedication to the job and John recounts a tale of Eleanor pounding away on the typewriter so much that the office partitions rattled which impressed the clients that the office was terribly busy! The Meldrums became close friends with all the Webb family that extends to today.
Ian & Eleanor were regular members of St Giles Presbyterian Church till around the mid to late 60?s. Sally has adopted St Giles as her Melbourne Church.
In the 60's and 70's Eleanor looked after various family members as they were recovering from hospital, or becoming frailer, Ian's mother, cousin Vivienne, Eleanor's parents, aunts Mabel & Metha, Leura, Beth. Eleanor's devotion to the recovering or aged relatives was wonderful to see. Ian & Eleanor steered John through school then RMIT with no major mishaps along the way.
Ian & Eleanor, loved traveling and sightseeing and drove all around the southern parts of Australia many times holidaying with friends and family. From 1980, they started international sightseeing, initially prompted by Keith & Sylvia moving to Singapore. They had a number of enjoyable trips to Bali, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong as well as Eleanor going to New Zealand and some Pacific Islands with Aunt Leura. In 1982 John met Sally Koh and she was immediately accepted into the family and became a full time Meldrum at a lovely wedding ceremony in Ian and Eleanor's back garden on 25th February 1986 - 25 years to the day later Eleanor would pass away. This was followed in May '86 with the Singapore wedding ceremony and meeting all of Sally's Singapore family.
Eleanor visited Hong Kong with Ian and a couple of times with John and Sally. When John, Sally & Julian moved to HK we were far away but regularly returned to Melbourne and we'd all head off for 2 or more weeks of car traveling holidays. A regular highlight was Lakes Entrance for a few days. This was always great fun and we really maximized our time together. After Ian went we continued this with Eleanor.
Ian & Eleanor enjoyed gardening and took great pride in their handy work. Ian took care of the fruits and vegies (which gave way to lawns in the 60's apart from his famous tomato plants in drums) and Eleanor more on the beauty aspects. She spent many hours in the garden whether planting the seasonal flowers, scraping weeds from the brick path etc.. There were also the chooks in the back shed with their fresh eggs for the friends as well as compost heaps etc...
Ian & Eleanor also spent many hours over with John and then John, Sally & Julian at their home in Blackburn helping with the garden, cleaning and looking after Julian. Then when they went to HK in 1991 and 1992 she helped with John's financial affairs in Melbourne.
Eleanor suffered some major medical blows, an aneurysm in her head almost took her out in 1969 following a very hot summer trip to cousins, Jean & Rob Bushby in Nerrandera NSW, she survived but her eye was turned and she kept one eye closed from then on an this allowed her to lead a normal life, continue driving etc... She was still a very handsome woman and was always immaculately presented. Indeed she did part time modelling at venues around Melbourne in the 1980's, pretty good for a mature lady.
Later, other medical procedures were needed, hysterectomy, hip replacement & she suffered from recurring bouts of lymphoma, some skin cancers, a small blood clot in the lung and other ailments such as shingles.
After Ian's passing in September 1998, Sylverly Grove required too much effort to maintain it and she had her "big move" all the way across the road to 3A Sylverly Grove in 2000 and now had the comforts of an en-suite bathroom, air conditioning, a smaller garden etc.. However her health declined & she could really only enjoy this new home for 5 years or so.
Eleanor moved into Sheridan Hall early 2006 & was very happy there although her socializing declined. Eleanor was very hard working, bright, elegant & fun loving and gained the respect & friendship of her bosses & co workers, she greatly enjoyed socializing with her wide circle of family & friends. She was compassionate and looked after the sick & elderly and was extremely generous in her time & efforts for others.
Eleanor was a loving mother, mother in law & Nanna.
We'll miss her greatly.
John 3rd March 2011
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