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Tiller Allan

From Mallala
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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1945
Place of birth Riverton South Australia
Principal occupation Farmer
Date of death 2015
Place of decease Pinery South Australia

Allan Richard Tiller was born on December 15th 1945 at Riverton South Australia, the first child of Melvin Richard (Dick) and Gwendoline Isabelle (Gwen) Tiller (nee Hancock). Although Dick was a farmer at Pinery S.A, he enlisted and served in the Australian Army during WWII, so during the time he was away Gwen lived with her parents in Saddleworth S.A. When Dick returned home, they moved back to the family farm at Pinery, where siblings, twins Helen and John, and sister Anne joined the family.

Allan attended Pinery Primary school and Balaklava High school. After completing his schooling, he worked with his father, and later his brother John, on their mixed farming enterprise. During the drought of 1967, Allan went with friends to work on the Jones’ farm in Jerramungup south-east of Perth. He later moved closer to Perth, to work as a tyre fitter. His family was amused to learn that he had purchased a Mini Minor to drive while he lived in Perth! Allan returned home to the family farm and in the off-season drove a truck for Ira Jenkin, owner of Calomba Transport and also for Silky Pratt. “He kept up a good relationship with them all, and always had an interest in trucks,” his son Kelvin said.

Allan played cricket for Pinery and was a member of Rural Youth in Mallala. He played football for Owen playing alongside the Shepherd brothers. They happened to have a sister named Jennifer (Jenny) who caught Allan’s eye and the rest, as they say, is history! The couple were engaged on August 19, and married at Balaklava Church of Christ on March 15, 1975. Anne was married just three weeks later, and setting the wedding dates for both was another funny story! After the wedding, Allan’s parents retired and moved into a new house in Cameron Terrace Mallala, and Allan and Jenny moved into the family farmhouse. Brother John was already married to Christine and they lived on another property.

Jenny played tennis for Pinery, and Allan took up “night owl” Lawn Bowls at Owen. He was very active in the Owen Agriculture Bureau, holding office and being awarded Life Membership a few years ago.

Allan and Jenny were blessed with four children, Leon in 1977, Fiona 1978, Teresa 1981, and Kelvin in 1982. The children attended Balaklava Kindergarten, Primary and High schools, where Allan was involved on school committees and working bees. He enjoyed watching and supporting his children when they played sports. Leon went through to Queen Scout with the Balaklava Scouts, and Allan was a great supporter of this. He was involved with the Pinery Country Fire Service and was heavily involved with the Pinery Hall and Community Church.

The family loved caravanning holidays in January – or maybe it was more Allan – as Fiona laughed that taking six people in a car towing a caravan a long distance wasn’t always fun! Allan’s philosophy was to “travel far enough away from the farm that you couldn’t go back easily.” As the children grew up and left home, Allan and Jenny travelled overseas visiting New Zealand, Israel and Jordan, Denmark, Europe, and saw the Oberammergau Passion Play in Germany which is only performed every 10 years. Two years ago, Allan and Jenny went on a John Deere trip to Canada and the USA, and Allan even drove a combine harvester when in Canada. After Allan had a stroke in 2009, he stepped back from farming, happily letting Kelvin take the reins.

Allan was heavily involved with the Owen Bowling Club playing division 2 pennants, was currently on the committee, and had been a selector and president. “Dad really liked bowling second – he didn’t want to be skipper, lead or last – so second was it,” Kelvin laughed. Allan also joined Adelaide Plains Male Voice Choir. And who can forget his hilarious performance as a bridesmaid in the Owen Mock Wedding a couple of years ago!

In recent years, Allan and his friend, Tim Lacey, were like “Dad and Dave” in the sheds, restoring old machinery, completing a tractor, with a truck and header next on the list. “He was a handyman, he loved doing up old machinery, and spent hours discussing things and tinkering around in the shed with Tim,” Kelvin and Jenny said. Fiona and Teresa, who both live in WA, said their dad could talk to anyone, anywhere. “He’d walk down my street and talk to someone he’d never even met, for 45 minutes,” Teresa laughed. Allan could find something in common with anyone, and loved to talk and have a joke. Allan loved spending “family time” with Jenny, their four children and partners, and young grandchildren, along with other relatives.

Allan 69, tragically lost his life on Wednesday November 27th 2015 while fighting the catastrophic Pinery fire. Following this horrific ordeal, Allan’s family wish to remember and celebrate the life of this wonderful, loving family and community man. Allan’s wife Jenny, and children Leon, Fiona, Teresa and Kelvin said they wanted to thank everyone as they have been absolutely overwhelmed by the calls, messages, love and support from everyone, not just in the community, but from around the world. “We’ve even had messages and calls from people in America who we met on our recent overseas holiday,” Jenny said. To celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary which was earlier in the year, Allan and Jenny had not long returned from a 15 day European River cruise, followed by a bus tour of Italy from Rome to Milan. Ironically, their river cruise was halted mid-stream for a while as they had to wait for rain – just like farmers, thought Allan! “Allan actually suggested the cruise for our anniversary – I’d been suggesting we go on one for years,” Jenny said. “The great thing was we did some things not on the itinerary that Allan wanted to do”.

The last bowl has rolled, and we tip our hats to Allan Tiller.

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  • Information provided by the family and compiled and published by Louise Michael The Plains Producer.

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