Ron Dorward leaves an unmatched legacy

Ronald Mostyn Dorward

15/7/1911 - 10/2/2019

Ron Mostyn Dorward was born at Poonindie on July 15, 1911 to David Dorward and Jane Dorward (nee Cooper).

One of six children, Ron grew up with two brothers and three sisters at Mount Gawler, near White Flat.

His father was a farmer at White Flat before selling the farm and moving the family to Tumby Bay in 1919.

Ron attended school in Tumby Bay until year 7 and then went to work at Bill Provis' fruit shop on Spencer Street.

It was at the fruit shop that he learned to play billiards, a sport he enjoyed throughout his life, the highest break he made was almost 100.

After working at the fruit ship for two years Ron moved on to work at Sheehans' Auctioneers as a clerk.

Ron entered military service in 1941, on October 10 he went to Adelaide and enlisted in the Citizens Military Forces (Army Reserve) and was sent to Woodside for training.

He was posted to D Company, 48 Battalion which was transferred to Loveday, an irrigation settlement near Barmera and tasked with the security of a trainee camp until May 1942.

The battalion was then posted to a camp at Anglesea in Victoria before moving on to Goulbourn in New South Wales, where on arrival D Company was excised from the battalion and transferred to Darwin as part of 19 Battalion, arriving in September, in time for the attack on Darwin.

Ron remained in Darwin for the remainder of World War II before returning to Adelaide in late 1945 and taking discharge on February 19, 1946.

For his service Ron earned a 1939-45 Star, Defence Medal, 1939-45 War Medal and Australian Service Medal.

He returned to Tumby Bay soon afterwards and took over Sheehans Agency and also became harbour master for the town, a position he held for 17 years.

Ron retired in 1976 and he continued to live at the family home on North Terrace, which the family had owned since 1919.

In sport he was into playing golf and he served as Tumby Bay Golf Club secretary for 27 years.

He also played tennis, lawn bowls and croquet and earned many trophies during his life.

A keen gardener and pigeon breeder, Ron was also a prolific exhibitor at local and interstate shows displaying his flowers, pigeons, preserves and even bantams, earning many ribbons.

He made the trip to Perth 12 times to exhibit his wares, visiting family along the way. He loved his family and embraced his nephews and nieces.

At home he also introduced and fostered local lads' interests in pigeons and pigeon racing.

Ron moved into the Uringa Hostel in 2008 but for a few years afterwards he would make his way to the family property with his walker to keep an eye on the place.

Along the way he would stop by the Seabreeze Hotel to put his bets on the horse races, he loved his horse racing and used to visit racing events across Eyre Peninsula.

After four or five years he moved into the Tumby Bay Hospital for higher care.

Ron passed away peacefully on February 10, aged 107-years-old.

He was loved by his nieces and nephews, as well as the wider community.

The mural on Hibble Pharmacy by Danica Gates and Emma Trenberth showcasing elements of Tumby Bay's history includes an image of a young Ron in his army uniform, which shows how much of an icon he was to the town and all who knew him.

Thanks to Geoff Stewart whose article "A Soldiers' Story" formed the basis of this obituary, and to Grant McCracken for additional information.