A ton of memories

Waverley Leader (Australia)
March 30, 2004 Tuesday

A ton of memories

By Matthew Burgess

A SURVIVOR of the Armenian Holocaust, Mary Sheohmelian has a history
filled with sadness and loss.

But, there was a chance for celebration last week when the survivor
turned 100.

Ms Sheohmelian’s youngest daughter, Zevart, spoke on behalf of her
mother because of the centenarian’s limited English.

The eldest of three children, Ms Sheohmelian was born in 1904 in
Antev, Turkey, where she lived until her family was forced to flee in

Roaming the country throughout the Holocaust, Ms Sheohmelian’s
mother, father and siblings fell victim to hunger and disease and

By chance, Ms Sheohmelian was discovered by her uncle in Aleppo,

She was married at the age of 22 to Hagop Sheohmelian an arranged
marriage to her uncle’s brother-in-law and later gave birth to seven

In 1966, the family migrated to Australia to give the children a
better life and settled in Balaclava.

Ms Sheohmelian raised her children and grandchildren at home and
spent Sundays at the Armenian Apostolic Church in North Fitzroy. When
her husband died in 1974, Ms Sheohmelian began living with her
youngest daughter.

Since then, she has lived in Chadstone, Caulfield, Wheelers Hill,
Rowville and now resides at Glen Waverley Nursing Home.

Four generations of family and a belly dancer helped Ms Sheohmelian
celebrate her birthday at the nursing home last Monday.

Ms Sheohmelian’s daughter said her mother’s survival was a miracle.

Ms Sheohmelian has 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and
speaks Armenian, Turkish and Arabic.