Neil Alex Walch

Neil Alex Walch was born in 1922 in Rainbow son of Ruby and Mathew Walch.
Dad was the eleventh born child of Ruby Walch.

They came to Baring when Dad was two. The number of horses pulling the dray has always varied with the re telling of this story.
The family of Walch/Grigg arrived at Baring in 1924 and became the early settlers and developed the land. The hard work of those early is hard for our generation to imagine.
A story that is often told about Dad in those early days is the time the chook bit Dad and he was so angry that he tried to burn the chook but burnt the family home admittedly the first home was made of hessian. Dad started school at Patche in 1927 - this was when school was opened.

He enlisted in the RAAF at the age of nineteen serving as a wireless operator. He was stationed on many islands north of Australia.
He returned to the family farm and continued farming but by then in his own right. Dad married our mother whose maiden name was King. Our mother was introduced to the noisy large family of the Grigg/Walch. Mum was an only child and her father insisted anytime that /Dad wanted to take my mother out he had to chop a load of work. Papa (James) King thought if he as was going to have a son he would have to work. The fifties in the Mallee were busy and profitable times. Dad had a lot of fun with his horse called Near Vale who won three or four races in Melbourne. His older brother Bob encouraged this happy exciting time for him.

Golf was also important to our Dad and this was inherited from his father Granddad Walch. After only ten years in the Mallee they started the Baring Golf Club later to be changed to the Patchewollock Golf Club. Dad was very proud of the golf course and the work his father had did so he continued to give the club his time and energy. He was secretary of the golf for twenty-two years. Year after year he kept the course in excellent order. He was awarded Life Membership for his contribution.

Dad loved dancing always wanted to be first and last on the floor. He trained many a debutante and taught countless people how to waltz.
I often hear Dad referred to as the Cat with nine lives with many emergency trips to Melbourne. Dad always bounced back on got back on his feet. In 1979 he became a laryngectomy and showed his exceptional courage which enabled him to see all of us mature and marry plus the joy he has had with his seven grandchildren. We have all scattered but still stay in close touch.

In 1979 when his work as a farmer became difficult he transferred his energy to his garden. Growing up with Grandma Walch and her love of cactus Dad decided he would emulate what she was achieving. Over the next fifteen years as were all leaving home and space became available plants took over. I feel sure that the most of the community would have one of Dad's plants. The rose garden has grown to 110 roses and many a time I have received a STD telephone call that he had won first prize at the Patche Spring Show. He always encouraged us as his children to leave Patche at the end of our schooling and explore other fields before making any decision in what direction we wanted to take. Luckily Peter wanted to be a farmer.

The family farm is very special and we all love to come home and bring our children. Christmas time when we are all at home dad always had the biggest turkey and always insisted that we have a traditional meal. Dad was very proud of his children
Peter who looked after the farm
Jeff and Fiona in Brisbane in the computer industry.
Greg and Nola in Melbourne (our best accountant)
Kathryn and Arthur in London
Myself the eldest Marilyn and my husband Simon in Queensland.
Peter has married a very special girl called Meg and the family would like to pay a tribute to her for the special care she gave Dad and Mum through this difficult time.
As you are all aware through your contact with our father he was a very generous man and held strong traditional values. Dad thought of the Ten Commandments 'Love thy neighbour as thy self' was the most important of all.

Rock of Ages
Rock of ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
Not he labours of my hands
Can fulfil thy laws demands;
Could my zeal know respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone:
Thou must save, and thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to thy cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Saviour, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
when my eyelids close in death,
when I soar through tracts unknown,
see thee on thy judgement throne
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee
Psalm 23
The Lords' my shepherd, I'll not want.
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green, he leadeth me
The quiet waters by.
My soul he doth restore again;
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E'vn for his own name's sake
Yea, though I walk in death's dark vale,
Yet will I fear none ill:
For thou art with me; and thy rod
And staff me comfort still.
My table thou hast furnished
In presence of my foes;
My head thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.
Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me:
And in God's house for evermore
My dwelling place shall be.

At the graveside we chose a song from Vera Lynn.
'Till we meet again'
Let's say goodbye with a smile, dear,
Just for a while, dear, we must part.
Don't let the parting upset you,
I'll not forget you, sweetheart.
We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when,
But I know we'll meet again, some sunny day.
Keep smiling through, just like you always do,
'Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.
So will you please say hello to the folks that I know,
Tell them I won't be long.
They'll be happy to know that as you saw me go,
I was singing this song.
After the rain comes the rainbow,
You'll see the rain go, never fear,
We two can wait for tomorrow,
Goodbye to sorrow, my dear.

Unfortunately the tape decided to play 'Wish me good luck as you wave me goodbye'
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye.
Cheerio - here I go - on my way.
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye.
Not a tear - but a cheer - make it gay.
Give me a smile I can keep for a while
In my heart while I'm away.
Till we meet once again - you and I
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye.




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