Peter May remembered for Eyre Peninsula contributions

ACTIVE: Peter May was an active community member, including in and around the Elliston district. Photo courtesy of the May family

ACTIVE: Peter May was an active community member, including in and around the Elliston district. Photo courtesy of the May family

PETER CHARLES MAY 25/7/1926 - 30/1/2021

Peter May, born in Elliston, and lived and worked with his parents Peter Claude and Lucy May and five siblings at 'The Cocata', clearing scrub, stump picking, carting water for stock and other general farm jobs.

The farmhouse typical of the day, kero lamps, wood stove, copper for hot water, the water being carted from the government tank or the dam.

School was six miles away, one hour by horse and Jinker, Mr May left the one room, one teacher, all grades school completing year 6 to work for Don Gunn.

His first paid job at £1/week, was with the Frasers at Mt Damper, where he learnt to work teams of horses, sowing, harvesting then sewing grain into bags to load onto the truck for carting.

Mr May moved onto Yaninee working for Mick Mitchell at $3/week developing his farming skills then in 1946 he worked for two years at Ted Mayers place, 'The Kolballa' farming and shearing.

He bought a BSA Motorbike to get around working for Aunt Else Fraser before moving to Cummins.

Horses were the 'machines' of the day and Mr May used these until 1949 when he worked for Newton Trigg of Cummins, helping with seeding and harvest time using a tractor. His first experience with the modern-day work horse!

Moving to Elliston to work for Bill Inkster of 'ThreeLakes' in 1952 met and later married Isabel Inkster, buying his own property 'Winfrith', adding small holdings 'Heathcote', 'LachGlen', then the 'Warralilliyala' and later 'ThreeLakes' holdings.

Mr May involved himself in many community events and activities including tennis, football and golf and as a foundation member of the Elliston Golf Club, helping to clear and lay out the nine-hole course, going onto being the captain and president at various times and being awarded life membership for his services.

He was elected as a councillor of the Elliston District Council and remained in council for 13 years, Justice of the Peace, committee member and or chair Central Eyre Soils Board, Le Hunte Pest Plant and Animal Control, Elliston Hospital Board member, Elliston Area School councillor and chair, Show Society member, Agricultural Hall member, Local Agricultural Bureau, LCL Secretary, Uniting Church secretary and chair as well as involvement in numerous busy bees and activities.

Mr May 'leased' the 'Warralillilyala' airstrip to council ($0) so the Air Ambulance could safely land, removing a fence to make the strip longer until in 1993/94 the current strip was built up to required standards.

There were many late nights rushing to place the battery operated lights along the strip and parking the old ute with its headlights shining on the strip to ensure safe landings.

In 2004, Mr and Mrs May retired to Port Lincoln where he enjoyed bowls, golf, and working as a volunteer at Salvo's and Port Lincoln Men's Shed.

Mr May's last years were spent at his wife's side in the Matthew Flinders Nursing Home and was farewelled by his wife, four children, six grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Information based on eulogy by his wife Isabel May.