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Eric Douglas MELLOR


Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Sgt 3560 22y9m 29 Sep 1916 16 Jan 1920 6

Sergeant Eric Douglas Mellor (1894-1978)

Booklet

Family background and early life

Eric Douglas Mellor was born on 13 January 1894 at New Farm, Brisbane, third son of Edmund Foran Mellor and Margaret Jane née Stewart.  Eric’s father, an officer in the Queensland Customs Department worked at Mungindi1 where he died in October 1897 when Eric was three years old.  

Mrs Margaret Mellor brought up her three boys at the family home at Riverview Terrace, Toowong and they worshipped at Wharf Street Congregational Church in the city.  Eric Mellor attended Toowong State School and won a scholarship to Ipswich Grammar School.

Enlistment and service

Eric took up a surveying career under articles in February 1912, qualifying in September 1916 when he immediately enlisted in Brisbane in the AIF2.  Appointed to the 3rd Pioneer Battalion, Private E. D. Mellor was sent to the Engineers Depot at Moore Park, Sydney.

While on a short period of leave during training in Sydney he married Jessie Ann Shaw Macdonald.  His bride returned to her mother’s home at Lambert Road, Indooroopilly while Eric travelled to Melbourne in preparation for embarkation on board His Majesty’s Australian Transport (HMAT) Nestor on 21 November 1917, arriving at Suez on 15 December.

Early in 1918 the troops left Port Said on board HMT Kashgar for Taranta in Italy, thence by train to Cherbourg in France, the ship Mona’s Queen to Southhampton and another train journey to join the Pioneers Training Battalion at Sutton Veny on 2 February 1918.

3rd Pioneers

It was not until June 1918 that Private Eric Mellor marched in to the Australian Infantry Base Depot at Rouelles near Le Havre in France where he served with the 3rd Pioneers whose work involved engineering and construction tasks.

He gained the rank of sergeant in France and spent a period in hospital with influenza in September 1918.

Post war

After the war Eric Mellor was granted leave under the non-military employment scheme to gain experience in engineering work.  His employer, a surveyor in Yorkshire reported: 

“On the housing scheme for 500 houses he did excellent work in surveys and contouring, also levelling for new streets and sewers.  No fault could be found with any of the work by Sgt Mellor.  He is tactful and obliging and has always conducted himself as a gentleman should do and we are very sorry that the time has approached for his departure.”

Return to Australia

He returned to Australia on board the ship Nestor in December 1919.  Eric Mellor was discharged from the AIF on 16 January 1920 and in Brisbane lived at the Macdonald’s home called Delmonde in Lambert Road, Indooroopilly.

He started his own surveying business and operated throughout Queensland, building up a surveying team using mainly horses for transport supplemented by an old Buick motor car.

Sometimes, his wife and children travelled with him on surveying expeditions.  He did many jobs for the Queensland Survey Office and became staff surveyor in 1923.  He later held the position of senior staff surveyor and was a member of the Surveyors’ Board from 1934 onwards.

Eric’s mother, Mrs Margaret Mellor died in January 1924 and his wife Jessie died on 30 January 1931.  On 9 August 1932, he married Jessie’s sister, Agnes Catherine Macdonald. Their home remained at Lambert Road, Indooroopilly.

Post World War II career

After World War II Eric Mellor was appointed Director of War Service Land Settlement and supervised large settlement schemes in the Taroom, Wandoan and Burdekin areas and in other sugar growing districts of Queensland.

Deputy and Acting Surveyor-General of Queensland

In 1954 he became Deputy Surveyor-General of Queensland and from 1959 until his retirement in 1961 he was Acting Surveyor-General.  During this latter period he was Chairman of the Recess Committee of the Reciprocating Boards of Australia and New Zealand.  As a member of the Surveyors Board, he took an active part in the establishment of the degree course at the University of Queensland.

Passing

Eric’s second wife, Mrs Agnes Catherine Mellor, died in 1966. Eric Douglas Mellor died on 28 May 1978 after a lengthy period in the Wesley Hospital.


Footnotes
1. Small town on border of Queensland and New South Wales
 2. Australian Imperial Force

Select Bibliography
• National Archives of Australia, military records
• Australian War Memorial, Embarkation Rolls
• Wharf Street Congregational Church Year Books 1909 – 1930, Archives, Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church, Brisbane
• Ancestry, Mellor and Macdonald family records
• Australian Electoral Rolls, 1912 – 1977
• Brisbane City Council, cemetery records
The Australian Surveyor, September 1978, Vol 29, No 3
The Queenslander, 16 October 1897, page 737
The Brisbane Courier, Saturday 31 January 1931, page 12
Northern Herald, Cairns, Saturday 27 August 1932, page 3
The Telegraph, 1 August 1936, page 14
• State Library of Queensland - cited images

Compiled by Noel Edward Adsett, Brisbane.  April 2016.

 

 

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