Tucker Ronald Lyall
|Type of person||Individual|
|Date of birth||1929|
|Place of birth||Gawler Hospital|
|Date of death||2020|
|Place of decease||Hamley Bridge Aged Care|
RONALD LYALL TUCKER 20 JANUARY 1929 to 23 FEBRUARY 2020
Ron was born on the 20th January, 1929, the first child of Laurie and Jean Tucker. His sister Gwenda was born 1935. Ron’s parents moved to Butler Station just out of Mallala from Wasleys in 1927. He attended Mallala Primary School where he was Dux of the School in Year 7. He would ride his bike, go on the horse with his dad, or walk across the paddock to the school. He would leave his bike behind the saddlery shop near the tennis courts so no one pinched it! A couple of times Ron rode a pony to school, but after getting thrown off, he gave that away!
Ron’s secondary schooling began with three years at Adelaide Tech on Frome Road. He left home at 6.30 am, rode his bike to Mallala and parked it at Mr Pitt’s butcher shop to catch the 7am train to Adelaide Railway Station with Don Pitt. Then he either walked or caught a tram to the high school on Frome Road and after school the reverse happened, arriving home at 7.00pm. At Adelaide Tech he won the first year high jump with a height of 4 feet 6 inches. He played footy for the first 18s while at Adelaide Tech. On Saturdays he played tennis in the parklands off Frome Road. It was after one tennis match Ron had a clash with the law. He and his mate rode one bike to and from tennis, donkeying each other on the handlebars. They were stopped by the police who told them that it was not allowed so Ron got off and walked and his mate rode the bike! Once the police turned the corner, he hopped back on the handlebars & continued home. Apparently Ron needed to improve his marks, understandable as he left early in the morning, played cards on the train, got home late at night so he didn’t have time to do any homework. This was probably as good an excuse as I’ve heard over the years! His final school year was completed at Prince Alfred College. He boarded with his auntie at Goodwood and caught the train to PAC every day. While at PAC, he played in the B’s footy and remembers playing against Norwood High. He arrived at Norwood High only to find the venue was Norwood Oval. After catching the tram he got to the oval at ½ time. Rookie mistake for a country kid!
At the end of 1945 and the end of WWII, Ron left school and returned home to work on the farm. In 1946 they started share farming Alan Day’s farm which they did for the next 23 years, before buying it in 1967. In 1954 they brought the Roberts’ farm on Davies Road where Maureen and Ron lived until 1983 before moving into their new house in Mallala. During Ron’s farming life technology changed dramatically. He never worked with horses as they were one of the first families in the district to buy a tractor in 1937, a model D tractor. Headers changed from eight foot to the over forty foot front used now. He was extremely excited when he got a self-propelled header and then provided his own shade with a brightly striped beach umbrella. Sewing individual wheat bags became a thing of the past with the introduction of bulk grain and a new Bedford Truck was brought in 1964 which carried 7-8 tonnes (much different from the road train grandson Brett drives now which holds about 60 tonnes). Ron was renowned for his fat lambs and would regularly get a “pat on the back” in the Stock Journal.
1978 was son Greg’s first year home and after 2 dry years, 100 head of cattle and running out of hay, a block at Wistow in the hills was leased and all the cattle trucked down there. Laurie (father) Tucker’s brother in law lived in Strathalbyn and would check them every few days. Once a fortnight Ron & Greg would head down and check them. When it was time to send a few yearlings to market, Ron and the Red Bedford truck would head to the hills (Beddy didn’t like the hills very much)! Auto steer came along 20 years too late for Ron. You could always see when the paddock was done after lunch as he usually had a little nap and the lines weren’t very straight. During the 1960', Ag Bureau crop competitions were organized with Ron winning a number of wheat competitions.
Ron & Greg continued working well together for many years before Ron started to take a back seat in the operations of the farm. When his grandson Brett came home in 2007, Ron went down the pecking order even more, but was always called upon, even in his later years, to help shift vehicles from paddocks, move bins and augers, pick up parts, feed the chooks, water the trees, get the mail and other jobs. Since Brett came home from school and started farming, Ron and he have always had a special relationship. From the moment he was old enough to stand up, Brett would get picked up in the morning by Ron and go with him for most of the day. Ron first used to give Brett good advice, but after a while he decided he probably didn’t need it and went back to advising Greg instead. Not that he always listened either! In later years Ron liked jumping in the tractor or header with Brett and only recently when Brett and his wife Hilly visited him, he seemed to enjoy some of Brett’s tractor and truck photos and his “can you remember this Papa” chats. Both Maureen and Ron had a keen interest in native plants. In later years, they planted and lovingly tended native trees throughout the farm and painstakingly watered them through the dry summers.
Ron & Maureen courted across the paddock from a distance of a mile or so. For his 21st birthday Ron was surprised and excited to get a brand new Vauxhall sports car from his parents. (there are many photos of Ron and the car with a range of attractive young women alongside!) The car no doubt made courting more fun! Maureen & Ron were married in 10 August 1951. Both had a wide circle of friends and spent many days at the Rockies and away for weekends often to Victor Harbor with family and friends. They lived at Bates’ house (on the Balaklava Road) when they married, Ron riding his bike to Butler Farm every day to work.
A few months after Jill was born in 1954, they bought Robert’s farm on Davies Road where they lived until 1983. Bronny was born in 1958 and Greg in 1960. Growing up we were a close-knit family, joining in church and school picnics. After church each Sunday Ron would stop at Reid’s deli to buy ice-creams for the family, or, in winter a block of chocolate. After a particularly long sermon – many of which he was able to doze through – he would be heard to say, ‘If you can’t strike oil in the first 10 minutes, stop boring!’ The children’s love of sports was developed very early by following Maureen & Ron’s activities. In later years they supported and encouraged their children, travelling far and wide to participate in regular weekend matches and any tournaments. Early on, family holidays were at Victor Harbor with swimming lessons at Granite Island, picnic lunches under the Norfolk Island pines and rides at the carnival in the evening. Eventually holidays moved to West Beach where the children played tennis in junior tournaments and later country carnival. Extended family has always been very important. Ron & Maureen’s siblings are also their very best friends. There were the regular Sunday night teas with aunts, uncles and cousins at Maureen’s parent’s house where the grandsons would get their basin haircuts. The family shared some great caravan holidays with the Griffiths and Dunstans, especially in the Flinders Ranges camping in gorges near creeks and one year being stranded at Hawker due to flooding. As each child was married and had our own families, Ron & Maureen loved to spend time with their eight grandchildren. They would regularly have picnics on the farm and in the scrub. Ron was always available to join in with their games and activities, whether it be cards, tennis in the backyard or kicking the footy. The grandkids remember games of croquet and bocce on the tennis court and mini golf when we stayed at West Beach. Ron & Maureen were very proud of their grandchildren’s achievements and sporting abilities and regularly watched them play sports, attended school events etc. They were thrilled as each great grandchild arrived and always enjoyed their visits and cuddles.
Ron and his first cousin, Margaret Lines, had a special relationship. They were born within 3 months of each other, with the family visiting at Wasleys each Sunday. As they grew older, they still connected for birthdays, some holidays & special occasions. Retirement enabled Ron & Maureen, along with their sisters and brothers, to travel and see large areas of Australia. These were often camping holidays in the ‘cruiser’ and later bus tours to places like Darwin, the Kimberleys, outback SA and NSW. Camping meant pitching a tent each night. Tents weren’t as simple to erect as the modern ones and it certainly wasn’t ‘glamping’!
One of Ron’s great loves, other than family and farm, was sport. This was a huge part of his life.
Ron started playing tennis at Mallala in 1945 after leaving school. It wasn’t until 1947 that the Lower North Association was formed. Ron was Secretary/Treasurer of Mallala Tennis Club in 1952 until 1976. During this time Ron & Laurie (father) began a three day tournament beginning on Boxing Day. This was after the war when times were grim and people came from far afield to play. Later this became a one day event. In 1957, with the help of his father, a Mallala junior competition was formed, which eventually changed its name to the Lower North Junior Tennis Association. Most local kids played tennis at some stage during these years. Ron was Secretary/Treasurer of the junior association for 24 years and was then awarded Life Membership for his services to junior tennis. He was secretary of the Mallala Tennis Club for 16 years. While playing for the Mallala Tennis Club, he won numerous A Grade premierships and later in his career, B grade premierships. 'LifeMembership of the Mallala Tennis Club was awarded to Ron in 1981.
In 1953, Mallala placed a team in the stronger Gawler Association, where Ron became involved in as well, being on the general committee for 20 years and President for four years. For many years, he coordinated the Gawler and District Easter tournament, which in those days attracted players from Adelaide and surrounding areas, using the 14 lawn courts and 5 other private lawn courts in the town. For his services to the Gawler and District Tennis Association he received life membership.
In 1947 Ron started playing in the Country Carnival Tennis Championships based at Memorial Drive and in his first year he won the junior boys doubles championship with his good friend John Griffiths. Ron was part of very successful teams from the Gawler District, winning many B Grade events. In 1956 Ron put his hand up to go on the Country Carnival Committee as they were short of numbers and looking for help. From there he became the carnival secretary for 20 years along with his great friends Malcolm Groth and Lyn Walker. This was an intense two weeks of tennis and organization. Whilst in this position, tennis was in its hay day with up to 364 teams and 1500 players competing for the team and individual events, using all the Memorial Drive lawn courts as well as about four other lawn court venues throughout Adelaide.
During the two weeks of the carnival the family stayed at West Beach and Ron would leave at 7am to go to Memorial Drive, returning about 7.30pm for a swim before repeating the procedure the next day. He helped form annual state junior country tennis matches against Victoria and Tasmania, which he managed for 23 years. He was also a delegate to the State Tennis Association for over 20 years. It was no wonder he was rewarded with Life Membership to Tennis SA in 1988.
Ron’s football career spanned 26 years and started in Mallala in 1945, playing A grade which was the only grade then. He played from 1945 to 1970, playing 274 A grade games and 89 B grade games, which stood as a record for many years. He was A grade captain coach for 2 years which included a premiership, A Grade Best and Fairest 5 times and runner up 3 times. In 1964 Ron dropped down to the B Grade and the team made it to the grand final with Ron as captain coach. The team had been win-less the previous 2 years, kicking only 20 goals in 1963. This started a trend of retiring A grade players finishing their careers as B graders, helping the club to be more successful. As captain coach of B grade they made the grand final in the first four years, winning 2 premierships. His first two years in B Grade, he won association medals. Ron held a variety of other positions within the club: • Junior colts coach for 3 years • President 7 years • Treasurer for 16 years • A Grade Team manager for 10 years • Club statistician for 30 years In 1959, after playing 200 A grade games, Ron was awarded Life Membership ironically with his good mate Ray Earl, who started playing at the same time. In 2009 Ron - and son Greg – were recognized as members of the Mallala Team of the Century. Ron loved to help in any way he could and ‘worked on the gate’ at home games, taking orders for Saturday night teas and washing dishes at the end of the night. He always got prime position at footy home games, taking the down car by 7am before the gates even opened! He was a league delegate for 13 years and three years as president of the Adelaide Plains Football League, where he was awarded life membership in 1987. Ron played in numerous Adelaide Plains carnivals and also had the distinction of playing in the only two country carnivals since the war. He was a member of the team representing Central Lower North Zone in 1953 and 1956. He had great satisfaction as a footballer, when as a member of the A Grade team, they won their first premiership for 28 years. Ron was awarded a Merit Award from S.A.N.F.L. for services to country football.
After tennis finished, Ron’s bowls career spanned 35 years. He enjoyed country carnival tournaments when Ron & Maureen would stay at West Beach each year, still attending as spectators in the later years. He played mixed tournaments with Maureen, which was quite different from tennis, where they seldom played mixed doubles together. Ron held a number of positions: • President of Mallala Bowling Club • Manager of the zone team • Association Secretary of Wooroora He was awarded Mallala Life Membership in 2005 and Wooroora Association Life Membership in 2008.
Apparently early on in their marriage Maureen ‘suggested’ to Ron that he needed to become involved in the community. As you will hear he may have gone beyond expectations here! His community involvement included other groups besides sporting groups. He was on the Mallala Primary School Parent committee for 13 years and was the local Uniting Church Parish Secretary for 7 years. The Mallala Hospital Board benefited from 27 years service from Ron and when he left they had $1 million in reserve. Wow, how things have changed! Involvement with the Mallala Ag Bureau spanned over 50 years, holding a variety of committee positions. Ron’s community involvement results in being awarded the District Council of Mallala, Citizen of the Year for 1995. In his later years while living in Mallala, Ron would be a very regular visitor to the post office and IGA. He would collect his mail and visit again later in the day to check if any other mail items had arrived. At about 6:45am each morning Ron would trundle off to the IGA, first on his bike and in later years the old ute to collect the Advertiser. He would visit the IGA again for a strawberry milk and then later for the odd carton of milk or loaf of bread. Arge at the post office and the IGA staff shared many chats, conversions and jokes with Ron which helped to engage him and filled in his days in his later years. Ron was renowned for being able to nod off to sleep at the drop of a hat. This included in the lounge chair, at church, at the footy and at the kitchen table during meals. He told us ‘that he was just resting his eyes’.
In the last few years as Maureen’s Alzheimers became much worse, Ron became the carer for her. While he found these years very stressful and frustrating – especially after she asked AGAIN what day it was - Maureen and Ron’s loving relationship and dedication to each other remained and they continued their social interactions and involvement in the Mallala community.
Maureen and Ron moved to the Hamley Bridge Aged Facility in October 2017. The staff provided wonderful, loving care for Ron & Maureen over those two and a half years. Also many special thanks to his loving sister Gwenda, and in-laws Fay, Malcolm, June and Dick who regularly visited and supported them while they were in care.
Ron’s friendly easy-going nature endeared him to everyone he met. As you have heard, his involvement in the community has been widespread and many people have benefited from his willingness to help others. His family will treasure his love, support and fun loving approach to life. His commitment to helping and being actively involved in the community that he loved, is an inspiration to us all.
Ron passed away on Sunday February 23rd 2020 (Maureen’s 90th birthdate) and after a long and happy marriage is reunited with her again.
- Mrs Jill Phillips daughter of Ron Tucker