It’s in the genes!

Meet sports-lover Noeline Henricus, who never misses watching the Grand Final - and is very proud of her granddaughter, Gabriella, who plays for Carlton!

Die-hard North Melbourne supporter Noeline will be cheering along on Saturday with her mates at Uniting AgeWell Kalkee Community Nangatta.

Her son, David, says Noelene is in her element watching the Grand Final. “She’s always been somewhat vocal in shouting along on the sidelines,” David laughs. “She’s invariably the one yelling out ‘you idiot!’ to the umpire or one of the players!”

David says his mum is very close to all her grandchildren, especially to his daughter, Gabriella Henricus Pound, who was chosen for the Australian AFL team in 2019, played in the inaugural AFLW game in 2017 and has only missed two games in its history.

There’s a special bond between them,” David says. “Mum is so proud of her!”

And David is also delighted that Noelene is so cheerful and busy at Nangatta Community. “Uniting AgeWell staff are very supportive and kind,” he says.

“They give Mum excellent care, I can’t speak highly enough of them. She’s happy and content. And of course, she just loves watching sport!”

He’s not kidding.

There’s a strong sports-gene in the family! Noelene grew up in what was colloquially known as a Dutch Burgher family in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon).

Her father, Edward Kelaart was an outstanding spin bowler and slips fieldsman of the 1920’s and 1930’s for Ceylon. He even played against the English and Australian touring teams of that era which included Douglass Jardine and Donald Bradman. Noeline’s mum had a wonderful voice and was asked to sing for the Governor of Ceylon.

Noelene who grew up thinking the world was shaped like a ball, excelled at cricket as well as netball.

She married her first love, Derrick, also a sportsman, at the age of 20. Derrick was one of five brothers – and all of them represented Ceylon in one or more of the sports of boxing, rugby, cricket, hockey and athletics.

Derrick’s Dad was the undefeated Featherweight boxing champion of Ceylon. Derrick’s brother Barney won gold in the boxing in the 1938 British Empire Games, as they were then called, and his other brother Basil boxed in the 1958 Helsinki Olympics.

Noeline was on the verge of playing for the All-Ceylon Netball team, when a pregnancy led to an early retirement. Noeline went on to have three sons, Ian, David and Ansdale.

The family settled in Melbourne, and while David is modest about his sporting achievements, he also played for North Melbourne in the Under 19s side. He is in awe of brother Ian who represented Victoria in the Masters Games in footy!

Noeline and Derrick settled in Melbourne and bought a house in Broadmeadows. Noeline worked in the office at the Melbourne City Courts and learned how to become a court stenographer. This paved the way for her to learn more secretarial skills. She later worked at Swedish telecommunications company Ericssons for 35 years. Her hard work and cheerful nature saw her climb the corporate ladder, and she was even sent to Sweden as part of her ex-officio ambassadorial duties.

When Derrick became ill, Noelene retired to take care of him. And when he died a few years later in 2004, she moved in with her sister.

Noeline, who is a great-grandmother, later downsized and moved into a retirement village in Geelong in 2016 before moving into Nangatta when she needed extra care.