Allan Whiter O.A.M., 93 of Eden, died on Monday 9th September at Pambula District Hospital.
Allan was born at Bendigo on 24th May 1920 to Richard Bromby and Mabel Annie Whiter (nee Simmons)
A devastating fire destroyed his dad’s business in Stanhope Victoria, when Allan was 7 yrs old and soon after the family, comprising Beryl, Walter, Ena, Nance, Allan & Arthur moved to Lakes Entrance.
Hear Allan's memories of The Seahorse Inn, a Vimeo by daughter Jenny Drenkhahn and son Peter here
Work commenced here on Whiter’s Camp Park with the whole family pitching in to establish the first purpose built camping park in Australia. Initially there were in excess of 100 prepared campsites, hot and cold showers, tennis courts, a shop and fishing trips and entertainment were provided, in peak season, with up to 1600 people in 370 cars being catered for. As the family grew Richard, keen to replicate the Lakes Entrance business a day’s drive north, found and purchased the Boydtown property. Some of the family unit moved to Boydtown to commence the re-build leaving enough to keep things going in the Lakes Park.
The undertaking starting in 1936 at Boydtown was significant to say the least! A road had to be built from the highway the 2km to the Inn, this was all done by hand. The windows and doors had been stolen a major percentage of the floors had been stolen and parts of the brick walls were gone. Ordering building supplies like cement from the same source as council sometimes in greater quantity. Finding secondhand windows and doors that matched the style of the building combined with bricks and materials recovered from the property, the Inn was restored and transformed into a comfortable habitable and more respectable building.
While the advent of WWII removed Allan & Arthur from the Seahorse Inn project; their father Richard and his son-in-law Joe were involved in construction of buildings required for the installation of radar equipment both at Mallacoota airfield and on Gabo Is.
During WWII Allan served as an ordinance fitter and turner at the Ordinance Factory at Maribyrnong in Victoria. His section was involved in the assembly and commissioning of anti aircraft predictors.
During his time in Melbourne Allen courted Jean Helmore who was also working there.
They were married in Eden after the War on 17th November 1945 at St John’s Anglican Church (during a very strong North Easterly gale). By 1951 the Seahorse Inn project was largely completed and a flourishing camp park had been established in the surrounding area. Allan and Jean’s family had grown to include Robert, Ian and Jennifer.
Allan & Arthur had begun to work together building cottages in the area from Kiah to Eden and following the building of their own homes on Thompson’s Point in Cocora St, the Boydtown property was sold and they “moved to town” and the building firm of Whiter Brothers Builders began in earnest.
As volunteers Allan and Jean were involved in establishing the Eden Volunteer Ambulance Service continuing with other volunteers as drivers until the station first officer was appointed in 1967. Allan’s outgoing nature and character lead him to enjoy participation in Golf & Bowls, he was a committee member of both sports and helped establish them in the town.
As his boys grew their interest in boats was ever present and sailing became popular. Firstly he built a catamaran from roofing iron which he sailed with them, then together with his brother-in-law John Helmore, they built 2 Kitty cats of laminated ply & sailed competitively for years. Allan was part of a joint effort with Capt. Williamson (the Harbour Master), John Helmore, Kevin Turnbull, Barry Collins, and others to form the Eden Aquatic Club catering for sail and motor craft.
This club quickly provided a concrete “ramp” to give access to the beach at Quarantine Bay so that boats could be launched and retrieved from the beach, and later the Twofold Bay Yacht Club evolved from this beginnings.
Allan’s third son Peter took up an interest in radio and, encouraged by Jean, attained his amateur radio license. The hours of scanning the radio frequencies and listening to yachts far and wide caused Jean to also develop a keen interest and before long the need for a dedicated Volunteer Coastal Patrol station was evident. Allan designed and supervised construction of The Eden RVCP station on the Lookout point.
Among other community involvements Allan served as a councillor on the Imlay Shire Council, and was chairman of the board of directors at the Eden Fishermen’s Recreation Club.Allan and his brother Arthuroften manned the door for the social Balls at the School of Arts and the Fishermen’s Club. He made many presentation pieces from special timbers for visiting dignitaries; the Niche Wall at the Eden Cemetery and the Cenotaph in RSL Park are other examples of Allan’s design.
His generous community-building efforts over many years were recognized with an Order of Australia Medal awarded in April 2003 that Allan was immensely proud to accept.
He is survived by his four children Robert, Ian, Jennifer (Drenkhahn) and Peter;
Grandchildren; Frederick, Johanna (Innes), William and Andrew; Gregory, Jeffrey, Richard and Alison; and Heidi; and great grandchildren Lincon and Charlie Innes; Maeve Whiter; Jackson Whiter; and Mason and Hadley Whiter.
A memorial service was held on Monday 16th September in Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Eden. (a building erected by Allan and his sons in 1993).