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Tiller Melvin Richard (Dick)

From Mallala
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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1911
Place of birth Grace Plains South Australia
Principal occupation Farming
Date of death 1988
Place of decease Mallala South Australia

Eulogy presented by Rev Kelvin Benn in the Mallala Uniting Church on November 16th 1988.

One of God's richest blessings in life is a happy home where a family feels secure; where each one feels loved, accepted and free to be himself or herself; a home in which spiritual values are taught and demonstrated: a home in which laughter may be heard. Such was the home that Dick and Gwen built for their family. Dick was born at home on 14th. September 1914 in the farm­ house at Grace Plains. He was a twin in a family that had two sets of twins. Charles and Muriel Tiller had 3 children, 5 girls and 4 boys and Dick was their third child. He went to the Grace Plains and Pinery Schools and spent one year at Prince Alfred College. Like his father he was also a farmer.

He joined the Army, early in the Second World War and on the 8th. January 1942 he enlisted in the A.I.F. where he became a gunner with the 108 Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, Second 48th. Battalion, with which be served for almost four years until his discharge in November 1945.

Earlier that year on 24th. January, he married his childhood sweetheart, Gwen Hancock of Pinery. After his discharge they lived on the farm at Grace Plains for 15 months before moving to Pinery where they built their home, farmed their land, made their home and raised their children, Allan, Helen, John and Anne.

Dick had played football for Grace Plains but cricket became his main interest. He was captain of the Pinery Team for 2 years and served as President of the Club for a time. He became an umpire and was a delegate from the Pinery Club to the Adelaide Plains Cricket Association.

He was also interested in motors and motor racing and used to take the boys along with him to race meetings. Such was his interest that he was present at the opening of the Port Wakefield and Mallala race-tracks, the International Raceway at Viginia, and, of course, he went to the first Grand Prix with John.

He enjoyed being in the workshop and working on farm machinery. He was a successful and hardworking farmer who achieved his aim of setting up his sons on farms and seeing that his two daughters were taken care of. He instilled his values into the family all of whom have followed his excellent example of Christian living and have taken their place in the life of the Church. He was a Trustee of the Pinery Church for many years as well as being involved in all the community organizations at Pinery including being a member of the C.F.S., assistant secretary of the Recreational Ground from it's opening in 1947 until 1975 and secretary of the Hall Committee. He didn’t seek to be a leader but he was always there when there was work to be done.

And he loved whistling, especially I am told, when he was getting breakfast. Mind you, he would never have won a prize for whistling - he just enjoyed doing his way. Although there was always a slight weakness in his chest he had fairly good health most of his life. . . He made an early start with television - he had the first T.V. set in the district which he ran on 32 volts and he was picking up telecasts before the Television Channels officially began operating. Dick was a "gunner" in civilian life too. He loved reading and was interested in many things but, like lots of us,he never followed them up.

He retired in 1975 and with Gwen came to live in Mallala, but he always loved getting back out to the farm and spending time there just pottering about. Six years ago he underwent a heart bypass operation. He has not been on any farm machinery for some time until just recently when he had a ride on the header.

A man of fairly simple tastes be never wasted his money but when he bought his last car he decided to lash out and treat himself to a "bit of luxury," so he bought a top of the range model with all sorts of gadgets on it that he'd never had before. He found this out-of-character impulse rather exciting. He loved to go shopping with the girls and he insisted that they drive his car. He was a family man and he enjoyed being with his family.

They will remember him as the one who was always there, reliable, dependable, giving stability to their lives, wielding what they so beautifully describe as a "silent authority" which commanded their love and respect, welding the family into a compact unit. He set them a good example and challenged them to high standards.

He achieved his purpose because, as John put it: "He was someone you always wanted to please."

What a wonderful legacy he has left them. And how proud he was of his children and his grandchildren - and how proud they were of him.

Today we all want to thank God, for Dick Tiller’s life in our own way as a brother, a husband, a father, a grand­ father, a neighbour and a friend.

Dick suffered a severe stroke last Friday. He had a mild one not so long ago and was grateful that he came through that experience almost unscathed, but he was concerned that if he had another he could be left an invalid. He was spared that, and exactly 5 weeks later on Saturday afternoon around 3.30 p.m. on November 11th 1988 - Dick's life came to a peaceful end.

Gwen, Allan and Jenny, Helen and John, John and Christine, Anne and Robert. Leon, Fiona, Teresa, Kelvin, Richard, Melissa, Anthony, Glenys, Clinton, Derek and· Eleisha we offer our love and our prayers, and we share your pride today, and we offer our gratitude to God for the way Dick lived and died, and for the privilege of having been able to share some of our lives with him. May Cod surround you with his love, fill you with his peace and his power and use you as he used your loved one to bless those around you.

Australian Army Service Record

Tiller Melvin Richard

Australian Army SX22545

Date of Birth: 14th September 1911

Place of Birth: Mallala South Australia

Date of Enlistment: 27th July 1942

Locality of Enlistment: Pinery South Australia

Place of Enlistment: Wallgrove New South Wales

Next of Kin: Tiller Gwendoline (wife)

Date of Discharge:1st November 1945

Posting at Discharge: 101 Anti Tank Regiment

Related Articles


  • Mrs Anne Arbon (daughter of above)
  • Australian Army Service Records
  • Mallala Museum records.

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