A tireless worker
Jean Margaret Delaland was born on the 7th of February 1916, one of five children. She was born at home at 416 Talbot Street and attended Urquhart Street State School before continuing her education at Ballarat High School.
She later transferred to the Girl's Technical School in Lydiard Street before beginning work at Lucas' factory where she remained until she was married. Her husband George Cheney went to the war and Jean helped the Red Cross, learned how to knit socks for the servicemen, and went to work at Morley's Mill for about twelve months. She was at Morley's when the Japanese bombed Rabvaul where her husband was a prisoner of war and being distraught she left and remained at home for a few months before beginning work on the Ballarat tramways. She joined the 'traffic staff of the State Electricity Commission' and Jean was in the first intake of twelve conductresses and was described as a 'pioneer connie'. She used to ride her bicycle in the morning to the tram depot on the north side of Lake Wendouree to collect her tickets and change then work until the mid-afternoon when the afternoon shift took over, the last tram being at 11.15 p.m.
Jean recalls the day that a tram got away. At the cemetery terminus contrary to regulations, both the driver and conductor went to the toilet and the tram took off whilst unattended, a passenger pulling it up at Gregory Street. Jean enjoyed the contact with the public and on Ballarat's cold mornings freezing cold hands were protected by mittens with the good green overcoat and knitted sockettes coming to the fore. In the heat of summer, it was possible to take the jumper off but the girls were still wearing thick skirts.
At the expiration of the war, Jean was one of the last conductresses to leave as the men returned from the war, she just finished up, handed in her box, and went home, there was no fanfare, she merely 'sacked herself' in late 1946.
Jean's husband did not return from the war having been in a prisoner of war camp in Rabaul and died on board the "MontevideoMaru" which was torpedoed by an American submarine en route to Japan. Later Jean was to marry Arthur Maxwell with who she had worked on the tramways. After their son Robert was born in July 1948 Jean was involved with the Sebastopol Kindergarten for twenty-two years and in the early 70's she and Arthur leased the Gardens Pavilion and worked sixty-hour weeks with the pavilion and its associated dinner dances, weddings, and catering for balls.
Jean passed away on the 27th December 2007 agred 91 years and is buried with her beloved husband Arthur.
Jean is buried at the Ballarat New Cemetery, Lawn L Row 5 Grave 31.