Melba Mor­ris Sla­men re­mem­bered

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By MARK STEPHENS

MELBA Mor­ris-Sla­men was farewelled at a re­mark­able fu­neral and cel­e­bra­tory wake at Brown’s Plains near Ruther­glen last week.

Over 100 friends and fam­ily mem­bers came from far and wide and braved the 44 de­gree heat that turned the North East into a fur­nace.

It was as if Melba was say­ing, “I spent a life­time work­ing out­side in all kinds of weather so you can en­dure some of it too.”

With­out a doubt she was one of the great­est women in Vic­to­ria and her story is told by her son Fred Sla­men in this abridged ver­sion of his eu­logy.

“My mother was born in 1923 and from the start she was in­de­pen­dent, re­silient, res­o­lute (some may say stub­born) yet these were qual­i­ties that put her in good stead for what was to come.

“With the death of her hus­band, she was left with three chil­dren be­low the age of six and my father’s busi­ness in­ter­ests, con­sist­ing of a con­vo­luted busi­ness in the mer­ce­nary world of horse racing and a few book­shops that were just get­ting off the ground.”

Mr Sla­men de­scribed his late mother as sup­port­ive and demon­stra­tive.

“But to us she was just Mum; warm, sup­port­ive, in­ter­ested, and an old school dis­ci­pli- nar­ian,” Mr Sla­men con­tin­ued.

“She was not an ef­fu­sive, demon­stra­tive per­son but a few peo­ple she had deal­ings with men­tioned that Mum was very proud of us chil­dren.

up and I re­mem­ber Mum ask­ing me (a 14 year old) whether she should buy it.

“I said yes (not that my opin­ion would have swayed her one way or the other).

“The pur­chase went ahead and a new and

“De­spite National Trust ar­chi­tects telling Mum it was a lost cause she went ahead and suc­cess­fully re­stored the fam­ily man­sion, be­ing awarded a medal by the National Trust for her work a few years later.

“Vine plant­ing and wine-mak­ing be­gan with Woody Woodroffe and Leo Daw­son phen Mor­ris, An­drew Suther­land-Smith and other wine­mak­ers con­nected to the Mor­ris fam­ily.

“Pro­duc­tion was small but many prizes were won at Melbourne and other wine shows.

“Mum was an­noyed when she was re­ferred to as a Collins Street farmer.

“She could have had a more laid back life all, rolling around heavy hogshead casks, wash­ing down ma­chin­ery, pick­ing grapes, and driv­ing trac­tors.

“Once she came back to Melbourne ill and stayed in bed for a day after driv­ing the trac­tor spray­ing 245T, also known as agent or­ange.

“Since be­com­ing a par­ent I have come to re­alise the chal­lenge it would have been for Mum bring­ing up us chil­dren as a sin­gle, fe­male par­ent, es­pe­cially in the 60’s era.

and jug­gle par­ent­ing with the de­mands of a male dom­i­nated busi­ness and later her belov

“She gave us a warm, sta­ble, se­cure and invit­ing home-life with many great mem­o­ries

“Thank you Mum, for do­ing such a great job.”

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