Brian Spilsbury

One of the stories from the 2012 project: Who were they? People who shaped Victor Harbor and for whom our parks and reserves are named.

Brian Spilsbury Reserve

This moderately sloping reserve on Nicolas Baudin Drive, Encounter Lakes, adjoins the lake with pathways to the waterfront.

Brian was born at Henley Beach on 15th June 1933 and lived on the family almond orchard at Willunga until joining the RAAF in 1952 and graduating as a jet fighter pilot.

He married Margaret, a Brisbane girl, in 1956 and they moved to Victor Harbor in 1961 and purchased a small hardware store in Ocean St. from which over the next 30 years they developed a chain of three large Mitre 10 hardware stores in Victor Harbor, Yankalilla and Goolwa employing over 25 staff. In 1994 the businesses at all three stores were leased while retaining the freehold of the properties. Their three children, Bruce, Karen & Graeme all worked in the businesses after leaving school.

In 1976 they purchased a 70 acre hobby farm at Inman Valley where they raised a small herd of South Devon cattle and in 1987 purchased an adjoining 22 acre fruit orchard supplying outlets in Southern Fleurieu towns and roadside sales.

In the community Brian served as a committee member of the Victor Harbor Tourist Association in the early 1960s, a member of the local Masonic Lodge from 1963 and Master of the Lodge in 1970, a board member of St John Ambulance South Coast Division in 1971 and was appointed a Justice of the Peace from 1971, witnessing the signing of innumerable documents, presiding over court duties and coronial enquiries. A director of Mitre 10 SA for 17 years (1971 to 1988) including 11 years as Chairman and a councillor of Victor Harbor District Council 1981 to 1884 then Mayor from 1989 to 1993. Appointed chairman of Granite Island Management Committee in 1994 and still there.

All these activities whether business, rural , community or family were very strongly supported by Margaret. It was a team effort all the way.

Acknowledgements

  • Settlers Around The Bay, Anthony Laube
  • Victor Harbor: From Pioneer Port to Seaside Resort, Michael Page
  • Trove digital newspapers www.trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper
  • Digger database