Our local community of The Hills District and Samford Valley has lost an extraordinary lady who has given us a wealth of knowledge of our history. Melva Welch of Arana Hills sadly passed away on 31st January.
During the past 30 years or so, local history enquirers visiting the Samford Museum, along with numerous other repositories of local and family history, have likely to have had their answers sourced from some of Melva’s extensive, and ever-growing collection of material she shared in the form of files and published books.
Prior to focusing on researching and recording local history, Melva was the Chief Editor and Collator of the Hills Districts local paper the Adviser for 25 years. From Samford Museum’s earliest days Melva invited members to send an article for inclusion which helped us become known in a wider community.
Melva kept her family life very separate from her research and recording life. She spent countless hours and days in public record offices, seeking out details she needed for whatever her project was at the time. This was well before the days of internet and websites that now include Trove newspapers, so you can only imagine how time consuming it would have been!
She was brilliant at compiling information, however, she was a humble and reluctant public speaker – even at the launches of several publications published by Pine Rivers Shire Council and her own self- published work. Even for her major work, ‘Bergin Beauty’ she did not hold a launch in 2014. Museum members knew it deserved much more recognition and hosted a book signing afternoon for her – still no speeches, just conversations.
The fruits of Melva’s volunteer research, recording and compiling will continue giving long into the future.
May Melva A Welch OAM rest in the knowledge that she will not be forgotten and her name will be spoken often.
There will be a public memorial service taking place on the 11th March of which the community are invited to attend. Please see below details of the event.