Eleanor Chisholm remembered for a life of community service

ELEANOR Chisholm, wife of four-time Ballarat mayor Jack Chisholm, has died at the age of 94. 

As well as being mayoress, a role she relished, she had a remarkable life and left a legacy for her beloved Ballarat community together with her husband.

Mrs Chisholm was born in Ballarat on Christmas Day, 1919, to Selina and Syd Pollard. She went to Pleasant Street Primary School and Clarendon Presbyterian Ladies College. She left school to become a milliner at Patterson Powell and then Morseheads, both jobs which she loved.

During World War II, she joined the Army and was a nurse at Watsonia Barracks, and later at Vic Park field hospital. Both hospitals during the war were makeshift facilities under canvas. There, she nursed the returned injured soldiers, many of whom had malaria. She often sat with these soldiers, holding their hand as they died. This experience with the Army was the highlight of her working life.

Not long after the war finished – in fact on November 21, 1945 – she and Jack Chisholm married and soon after came their much-loved children Heather, John, Anne and Elizabeth.

Mrs Chisholm was also the treasured nana of Andrew, Sue, Tony, Norna, Sarah, Michael, Sue, Peter, Joanne, Liam, Hayden, Claire and Matthew. And, as Old Nana, was tickled pink with her great-grandchildren Emma, James, Alice, William and Jackson.

The Chisholms’ family life revolved around their commitment to community service. Before the war, she was an assistant cubmaster of the 13th Proud Army Service. 

While supporting her husband in his many community roles, Mrs Chisholm, in her own right, had an extensive engagement with the community. She was president of Ballarat Apexiannes and a foundation member and president of the Ballarat Orphanage Auxiliary. She also served as commissioner of the Wendouree District Girl Guides Association and was commissioner for the wider district. She was a foundation member and first president of the Ballaarat Fine Art Gallery Women’s Association.

Her community service also extended to helping troubled young people through her presidency of the Lisa Lodge Ladies’ Auxiliary. She was a foundation member of both the Sovereign Hill Interiors sub-committee, the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens and the Central Ladies Bowling Club. She also served as president of the bowling club.

Mrs Chisholm was a member of the Ballarat Cornish Association and the Victoria League, as well as a driver for Ballarat Red Cross.

She held the position of mayoress of the City of Ballaarat four times: 1957-58, 1967-68, 1972-73 and 1977-78. During her time as mayoress, she was responsible for convening many meetings of women concerned with various aspects of the Ballarat community.

As mayoress, she was also responsible for entertaining many guests to the city, including the Queen Mother, the Queen and Prince Phillip, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Alexandria, governors-general, state governors, prime ministers, premiers, national and international celebrities, a number of Olympians and various authors.

Mrs Chisholm died on February 12, 2014. She was then laid to rest with her beloved husband Jack.

Eleanor Chisholm

Eleanor Chisholm


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