Racing family farewells Meryl Welburn

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By Tony McMahon

A gathering of over 1000 people packed the overflowing grandstand at Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park racecourse last Friday to celebrate the life of the late Meryl Welburn (pictured).

Loved by all that met her during a lifetime centring around the racing industry, pony clubs and horseshows, the sheer dimension of the crowd on hand to farewell Meryl was testimony to her popularity.

The ceremony and crowd were fitting tributes to a lady who tolerated; fought with and lived the full life despite so much adversity through kidney related health issues.

Never one to complain, preferring to exude happiness; courage as well as love of family, friends and life, Meryl was a ray of sunshine to everyone she met.

She was the wife and “rock” for her husband the champion Rockhampton jockey of his era some decades ago in Wally Welburn.

Although many tears were shed among Friday’s assembly they were drowned out by laughter; smiles and overwhelming happiness emanating from the light-hearted ceremony which was Meryl’s wish.

The eulogy painted a poignant but bright colourful picture of Meryl’s life from her childhood years as at Crescent Lagoon School right through until her parting on February 28.

Always known as a lover for a “chin wag”, the gathering burst into spontaneous laughter on being told of Meryl’s previously undisclosed entry into the record books for a 4.5 hours telephone conversation one day with her friend Margaret Garland.

Similarly, they laughed when reminded of Meryl’s obsession for the afternoon television show The Bold and The Beautiful and how it could turn “ugly” if any one phoned or interrupted during its broadcast.

Whilst Meryl lived under the catchcry of “some days are diamonds and some days are stones”, she accepted her debilitating kidney related disease and never stopped fighting its unrelenting intrusion.

Meryl Welburn (24/8/51 – 29/02/2019) wished to be remembered by her ethos – “I may have lost the battle but I won the fight”

She is survived by her husband Wally and daughters Kylie and Renae as well as her three younger sisters Karen; Lynelle and Gaylene.


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