Born in Kempsey to Robert Leslie and Caroline Melville, he was a building contractor and banana grower before entering politics. He served in the 2/13th Battalion for six months, and became an alderman of Kempsey Shire Council in 1954. He was Mayor of Kempsey in 1959.
Active in the Australian Labor Party, he was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Council in 1973 and served until 1981.
Melville died in Kempsey in 1982.