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Document - History (H33)

From the Collection of Melbourne Legacy 293 Swanston Street Melbourne Victoria

White foolscap paper with black type x 6 pages of Frank Meldrum's account of Legacy's history dated 6 March 1976.
Object Registration
history, founding legatee
Historical information
A document written in 1976 by Legatee Frank Meldrum containing his account of the start of Legacy. He was responding to a request for information about the history of Legacy that the archive committee was collating. He mentions several key members by name and what they achieved.
As with other similar accounts he mentions the original objective was to see diggers placed in employment. When two years later the focus changed to the families 'thanks to Frank Doolan Legacy found its SOUL'. A few other accounts have also used the term 'soul' when referring to Frank's suggestion. It seems many Legatees had been quietly helping families of their comrades; Frank 'said he was helping a widow with two children of an old army mate. It was discovered that several of the Board were doing the same. Stan Savige had taken over the care of his widowed sister and her two boys, whose father had died at Passchendale. I had a widow with two little ones whose father was one of my best mates at Anzac. He died of flu virus after returning to Australia. I think eleven members of the Board or Committees were already giving similar service. Frank's proposal caught on immediately. Legacy had found its Soul!'
'Harold Peters started his Hit and Debating Class and I was asked by Stan to find a PT instructor', Frank Meldrum asked for the 'Billy' Williams to helped, and a cobber from Anzac, Louis Vavjanezki, to take on boxing and wrestling classes.
'All committees carried their own expenses amongst themselves - nothing was charged to JLC. Hugh Brain started the Education Committee and was given a donation, I think of $1000 (a heck of a lot in those days) by the Ballieu Bros.'
He also mentions 'For the first 5-10 years practically all administrative costs were borne by the members.'
'Stan Savige was, of course a tremendous driving force in all the work for the Juniors. He put on a Christmas Camp at Balnarring on his own property and was Camp Commandant and Camp Cook.'
Legatee Keith Mitchell helped Frank Meldrum in doing a dental examination of all children in the classes and then Frank did the necessary treatments in his rooms. When it was known they were treating over 400 children and their mums, Syd Birrell then got the board to co-opt two more dentists into the Club and form a Dental Clinic.
Syd Birrell also started a Legal Committee to provide free legal advice.
'Committees quietly vied with each other to give better services to the Juniors and their mums. It was an atmosphere that was unbelievably happy - SERVCE WITHOUT SELF'.
He mentions picnics, including one at Grimwade house - photos are at 01382 - where legatees were dressed up.
The first demonstration was held in the 'Playhouse, just over Princes Bridge and was a great success.' Aaron Beattie and Mrs Gilles were mentioned.
The notation H33 in red pen shows that it was part of the archive project that was trying to capture the history of Legacy.
When Made
A summary of the first fifty years of Legacy written by a key founding member.
Inscriptions & Markings
Handwritten H33 in red pen and 'from Meldrum' in blue pen on first page. Stamped 'COPY ONLY' in purple ink.
Last updated
7 May 2020 at 9:33AM