District obituary

Elizabeth Lillian Hallam (nee Morris) was born on the 5th of February, 1928 to parents William Robert (Dicky) and Eileen Julia Morris at a hospital in Macarthur St, Ballarat, just a few doors down from the family home. Two brothers, whom Elizabeth (Betty) adored, in Thomas John (John) and William Robert (Bob) were soon to follow in 1933 and 1937, with all three sharing an extremely close bond throughout their lives.

Betty enjoyed a very happy childhood in Ballarat growing up with her brothers and cousins, drawing houses on the gravel in the backyard and having tea parties using her mother’s best China teapot without her knowledge. Betty’s teenage years were spent playing sport such as pennant tennis, basketball (netball), vigoro and table tennis on weekends and ‘dancing her legs off’ for at least three nights a week at various dances in Ballarat, a frequent attendee at the Masonic Hall, St Patricks Hall and the Boatshed. 

Commencing her schooling at Pleasant Street State School in 1932, Betty was dropped to school by her father on his way to work as a grocer each day, before finishing her school career at Loreto Ladies College prior to enrolling in Miss Baker’s Private Commercial College for a 12 month course. Betty’s working career began in the office of a wholesale grocer’s store in 1944, a position she held for a few years until taking up work as a comptometrist at a drapery store where she remained until September 1949 when Dicky and Eileen were able to realise their dream of running a Hotel, taking over the lease of the Victoria Hotel in Beulah. Betty and brother John moved with their parents to Beulah, while Bob stayed in Ballarat to complete his schooling. Whilst it was a completely different way of life for the family now living in country Victoria, and in a Hotel no less, they soon settled in and Betty was able to continue playing sport and attending dances.

It was sport, and tennis in particular, that lead Betty directly into her future. During the 1951-1952 tennis season Betty was appointed as an assistant to the Secretary of the club, being local farmer Don Hallam. Don was soon making a habit of popping into the hotel on ‘tennis business’, finally asking Betty out on their first date in January, 1952. Their engagement followed on the 29th of October, 1952, and they were wed at St Patricks Cathedral in Ballarat on the 26th of September, 1953. Making their home in Beulah, Betty and Don welcomed their first born John in 1954, with Peter following in 1956 and their family being completed by the arrival of Julie in 1959. 

Betty took to life as a farmer’s wife well, supporting Don and his family while raising their children in a happy home. It’s often been noted by those closest to Betty and Don that they never heard a cross word spoken between the two for the entirety of their 60 year marriage. 

Betty enjoyed travelling the world, taking trips throughout Australia, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand with various travelling companions, most often her beloved mother Eileen, Don and other family members.

In her later years family and bowls continued to be what gave Betty the greatest thrills in life. As a bowler Betty enjoyed personal success at various levels including singles and team championships, also giving her time as a Secretary of the Ladies Bowling Club on numerous occasions throughout her career. In the years following, Betty was appointed as a councillor at state level, also obtaining her national umpire accreditation. While health issues slowed both Betty and Don down on the bowling green in their twilight years, they took great pride in continuing to support John and Peter in their bowling pursuits as often as possible.

After Don’s passing in 2014 Betty spent a while longer at their beloved family home in McKenzie St before making the move to the Aged Care Facility in Hopetoun in the early part of 2016. As a resident in Hopetoun Betty formed close relationships with others living there, and also with the fantastic staff who went above and beyond in making her transition to their care an extremely enjoyable one. An especially active resident, Betty was always eager to attend any social events organised by the lifestyle staff of Rural Northwest Health, and particularly enjoyed trips to Ocean Grove, Halls Gap and Echuca during her later years. Betty also took great delight in regular trips ‘out’ to the footy each week, down to Julie’s house for a few days at a time, the Victoria Hotel in Beulah for a roast meal on a Friday, spontaneous afternoon drives with Peter and whichever friends came along for the ride, and to various family events such as weddings, birthdays, Christmas’s etc. Betty’s absolute love of life, and her family in particular, is something that is spoken of often by those closest to her, with nobody ever left in doubt of how much she loved each and every one of us. Whilst Betty saw her life as blessed, and felt that she didn’t experience any tragedies during her younger years, in the last couple of years she has been heartbroken by the loss of her brother Bob, sisters in law Maria and Jane, and dearly loved Brian, aka Kosy, Julie’s husband.

Following a short illness, Betty passed away at Wimmera Base Hospital in Horsham on the 19th of November, 2019. Betty’s family and friends gathered at St Augustine’s Catholic Church to celebrate her life on the 25th of November, 2019. Grandsons Xavier, Jordan, Jacob and Tom Hallam along with Ben Spicer (Grand-daughter Sarah’s husband) and Andrew Ward (Grand-daughter Georgia’s husband) acted as coffin bearers as Betty was farewelled.

A much loved wife, mother, Nan-Nan and ‘Old Nan-Nan’, Betty was laid to rest with Don at the Beulah Cemetery. She is survived by children John, Peter and Julie, daughters-in-law Deborah and Michelle, eleven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.