Born in Rutherglen, Victoria in 1929 to a miner father and a devout Methodist mother, Wes Eggleston remembered his home as quite primitive.
There was no power, no running water and to preserve food they used a koolgardie; a meat safe that swung from a tree. His mother died from tuberculosis when he was only ten, but her strong convictions remained with him. Although a single child he had drawn tremendous support from his extended family over the years.
Wes moved to Springvale over sixty years ago. He was a lay preacher for the Methodist Church for forty-five years, something his mother would have encouraged him to do. He joined the Springvale Benevolent Society in the mid-1960s and was the Secretary for over thirty-eight years. The Society provides emergency aid, furniture, equipment and food vouchers. Wes received calls for help from agencies or individuals and arranged for volunteers to visit homes and provide relief as needed. He also lobbied for funds to maintain the Society.
Wes described himself as not really a people person, but his open heart and great generosity are noteworthy. On at least two occasions he had opened his home to a person in dire need of urgent accommodation and permitted them to stay year after year.
As a Probation Officer from 1960 to 1975, Wes regularly visited the homes of children in trouble. He is convinced children should never be taken from their homes and believed that a parents love for their child should always be given a chance.
Wes believed it is far better approach to get involved in working with the families to resolve the problem. Wes resigned as a Probation Officer in 1975 as he felt it was conflicting with his role as a Justice of the Peace.
The depth of Wes’s kind-heartedness and empathy is best expressed with his own simple statement ‘You know, you just can’t leave people’.