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Tiller Gordon William (Will)

From Mallala
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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1929
Place of birth Grace PLains
Principal occupation Farming
Date of death 2011
Place of decease Mallala Hospital


Eulogy compiled and presented by Anne Arbon (nee Tiller - Niece)

Uncle Gordon or " Will" to most of us was the second child of Charles Frederick and Mary Victoria Tiller. His elder sister was Gladys Mary, deceased at the age of 17 years. He was born at the Balaklava Hospital on June 7th 1929. It was a drought year in which the wheat crops realised only 100 bags. He attended Pinery School completing Year 8, after which he came home to "Tillevan" at Grace Plains following his older brothers and sisters to work on the family farm. He attended Grace Plains Methodist Sunday School and later for many years was a congregation Church Steward.

As his half brothers and sisters: Nell, May, Tom, Dick, Delph and Sister Gladys were older, he spent much of his childhood as quote "a much loved little boy, who never did naughty things." It would be fair to say that Gordon was possibly a loner, adored by his sisters, and therefore well protected in his childhood. Needless to say his family was an important part of his life . Remaining a Bachelor, his adult life was spent with Tom farming the original "Tillevan" and the more recently purchased land. Nell and Delph completed the foursome. Gordon's other Half brother Jack and Half sister Vera, lived away from the family home, but many visits to each of these siblings and their families, involved much enjoyed car trips to Jack' s farm at Warnertown , and Vera' s home in Stepney .

Gordon took great pleasure making " many purchases" in his adult life. The buying of a particular item or equipment required much time, discussion and pondering as the confidence to step out often seemed to elude him. However many items were acquired. We well remember the "tow wagons" and the "diesel engine in the Hillman !" and especially, the purchase of fishing tackles. From an early age Gordon had a great fascination with fishing, or the trying thereof! This carefully chosen equipment was put to the test with very thorough detail, often without a great deal of return. Nevertheless his enjoyment was as always " in the pursuit." Apparently Gordon was drawn to the sea, he especially enjoyed his visits to Fisherman' s Bay visiting Jack ' s family, visits to Pt Parham where Vera's family holidayed, and also to his relatives , the Karklin' s family at Pt. Hughes and Wallaroo. Later he purchased not one, but two boats - well they were nice to look at!

As children and on into my and Helen' s married life , our holidays were never complete without the arrival, firstly of the 3 tonne Ford V8 Customline and later a selection of grey/silver Fairlaine' s slowly chug ging/arriving at our holiday campsite for the annual " visit." Fish and chips for lunch, the mandatory snooze, followed by the selecting of the required tackle to "drop a line ." A picnic tea before home-time came next - there was little need for the cleaning of any fish! In later years, a meal at the local pub was included. Our Easter family camps and all our special functions were always attended by the " home ones." For many years, Gordon took Nell, Delph, and Tom on various Sunday drives. Picnics of Fish and chips and ice-creams were enjoyed at many a beach or park often just watching boats launch or return.

Gordon travelled to " town" regularly to manage his business affairs. In the early years first stop for the four was coffee at May' s, then into the city. Later when driving became difficult, Helen became his designated driver to Gawler . These were very pleasant outings and included a long lunch at the Gawler Arms. In more recent times both Helen and I enjoyed taking Delph and Gordon to Balaklava and Gawler for shopping and appointments, always followed with lunch. Our help was happily accepted, as coming to terms with the loss of his licence was the first ever experience of not having a freedom he had always valued.

Gordon played some football, but cricket was his preferred interest. He Captained Grace Plains, played for Pinery Plains and later Dalkey after their amalgamation. He was a recognised astute opening batsman. All that practice on the cricket pitch at home in the early years with brothers Tom and Dick paid off.

He also played Annual Country Carnival Cricket, representing Grace Plains and Risdon with Brothers Torn and Jack together with Nephews Ray and Brian. During the carnival season, all were accommodated at May' s home in Blair Athol. A much anticipated event! While representing Grace Plains, Tom and Gordon sailed to England and toured with the South Australian Country Touring Cricket Team in 1954 . They were away 9 months. Gordon toured England again with the same organisation in 1965. This time he was away for 6 months taking in the sights of America before returning home. Between 1969 and 1985 Gordon held the position of Captain/Organiser for Grace Plains Country Carnival Team. In 1972 and while in "The Team of The Year," Gordon was awarded the "Best Batting Average" and "Best Batting Aggregate" trophies, presented to him by none other than Ian Chappell. These and other memorabilia items from the England Tours will be donated to the Mallala Museum. Subsequently Gordon is a Life Member of the Country Carnival Cricket Assn. After the Grace Plains team folded, he continued playing in the Country Carnival with the Risdon Cricket Club along with nephews Ray and Brian who have great memories of times together. Even though Gordon had retired from playing, he still enjoyed watching the game and especially the "after game entertainment".

Gordon's other interests included pistol shooting. He was a foundation and subsequently a Life Member of the Balaklava Pistol Club, The 25 M range bears his name. He enjoyed music and made a very good waltzing partner. Reading, an interest in financial news of the world, and the stock-market report where he honed his " conservative" financial skills, was also of great importance. He and his Accountant/ Business confidant and firm friend Peter Buttery were still discussing the " price of gold" in the last days before his passing.

A keen vegetable gardener - with a taste for exotic fruits, his skill in "grafting" is evident in many of our fruit trees. Just before vacating his home, the annual tomato plants were duly purchased - then planted by Allan! Gordon took an interest in recipes. Although few were attempted, he took up the position of bread-maker for the family with one of his " few well used" purchases. "Mexicans" and the " back-view" of cats were among his sketching talents, which delighted us as kids. The daily run to " pick up the mail, check out the crops and see what the boys were doing" was his way of visiting Allan and John as they worked the land , and the regular " run down to Parham" for a Saturday meal was always " the go!"

Despite regular family help, including over-night visits by Rosemary, the time had come for Gordon to leave the farm and re-locate to the Butler' s View Nursing Home - Mallala. Parkinson' s disease had unfortunately taken control. Gordon was a quiet and reserved man, and his dry and witty humour was soon noted by the staff at Butler's. Gordon and the entire family certainly recognised that Aunty Delph had "done her best" as his carer. Today we " pull up stumps" and lay to rest Uncle Gordon or (Will) at the Grace Plains Cemetery.

Related Articles


  • Mrs Anne Arbon (nee Tiller - niece of Gordon Tiller)

Memories of Tiller Gordon William (Will)

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