Vale Nellie Frances Dobson

Missed: Nellie Frances Dobson. Photo by Contributed

Nellie Frances Dobson - 06.09.1922 - 19.07.2022

Nellie Frances Dobson lived in Benalla her whole life, nearly making it to 100. The following is in two parts. The first was penned by Nellie, herself. The second by her son Alan.

I had a happy childhood growing up at Willowbank, Samaria Rd, Benalla which the Goulding family settled in 1853.

Our Mum or “Nan” as she was known and Dad “Dib” were married late in life — Mum 32 and Dad 54. I think they did well to produce we three — Bob, Alice and myself (Nell).

Looking back it was a safe and free lifestyle. We were always busy and never bored, be it making mud pies, or plaiting harnesses out of string to yoke up our pet lambs.

No television; at night in front of a huge open fire we built sheep yards with rulers, and used marbles for sheep.

The floor had a slight slope and where the lino was worn made a lovely drafting race.

I attended Blind Creek State School to Grade 8, walking across the paddocks with my cousins the Crawfords.

In the winter time puddling in the water and breaking the ice with my bare feet. On arrival at school putting on my dry socks and shoes.

I was the second youngest of the cousins and on one occasion on the way home was very envious when we called at the Crawfords and they were preparing for a house party. Unfortunately I was too young to attend the party.

I was only 11 when my father died and that was very sad for me as he was a sick man and I never really got to know him.

I was close to my mother and was lucky to have her until 1967 when she passed away at the age of 84.

After Blind Creek State School I attended Benalla High School for 12 months then left to help on the farm. I regretted not having some further training but at the time it wasn’t possible.

In the later part of the World War II, I spent some time at Mooroopna Cannery during the fruit season in a man power call-up.

Alan’s family reflections

Days gone by: Nellie Frances Dobson in her younger years. Photo by Contributed

Mum married David Dobson (the man next door) in 1946 and had three children — Janet, Bev and myself.

Mum and Dad unfortunately separated in 1974. Mum moved into Benalla and found bowling saved her sanity, meeting and making lots of wonderful friends.

She was a very good bowler, winning five club championships at Swanpool also travelling to many parts of Australia attending tournaments with her bowling colleagues.

We have a great photo of mum and friends sitting in a spa on one of the trips clearly enjoying themselves.

I have recently taken up bowling, purchased new bowls and last week took them into Estia Health for Mum’s blessing. Hopefully that blessing has a positive impact on my bowling.

Mum was very active in the community including the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union and Probus. She also worked at the Red Cross shop and from there received a 40-year long service medal.

Mum also enjoyed numerous local bus trips. She loved getting out in the country to see what the farmers were doing.

Mum in her own quiet way was a very determined individual and a fighter.

She lived independently until mid-June when a series of small strokes impacted on her health.

One impact was her inability to talk which she was very frustrated with. Several nights ago I was talking to her and she was having difficulties getting her words out.

Why, why she questioned. After a brief pause she said “Oh bugger it”. Obviously her mind was still very active.

Our families have many fond memories of Mum celebrating birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, births, christenings. She never missed an occasion and if she wasn’t attending always sent a very well thought out card and present.

Mum enjoyed an occasional sherry and two savoy crackers at night. Heather and I always gave mum a bottle of sherry for her birthday, Mother’s Day and Christmas.

She recently commented to Janet that we had cut back on the size of the bottles and she was running out of sherry.

Not our fault as the wine companies no longer produce two litre flagons.

In recent months our families have been busy arranging Mum’s 100th birthday celebration — she would have turned 100 on September 6.

So today we would like you to join us in a slightly early celebration of her life. I’m sure she will be up above watching.

Finally, Mum was treasured by so many and will be deeply missed. She was an absolute inspiration in how she lived and loved.

She had a quick wit, a cracking sense of humour and her sponge cakes were legendary.

We are so thankful for the many many years we had with her and the role model she was to all of our families and others in the community.