Barber Peter Hand groomed family tradition

VETERAN Warrnambool retailer Peter Hand, whose family name has been synonymous with Liebig Street for generations, was remembered yesterday by family and friends.

The Hand family’s tobacconist and barber shop was established by Mr Hand’s grandfather, also known as Peter Hand, in the late 1800s and was one of the few businesses to remain largely unchanged in Warrnambool’s main street.

The businessman took over operations from his father about four decades ago and maintained the traditional elements of the tobacconists, including the site’s distinctive barbershop chairs and range of grooming products.

The business still bears the Peter Hand name but was sold to new owners outside the family in the mid-1990s.

Friend and fellow businessman John Bonney said Mr Hand took great pride in carrying on the Liebig Street tradition and was noted as one of the region’s last traditional barbers.

The Royal Hotel owner said his late friend was also a keen supporter of South Melbourne and its successor club, Sydney Swans.

“Peter always joked that he wasn’t a hairdresser, he was a tonsorialist, which is a term for a barber which excels in the field,” Mr Bonney said.

“He really prided himself on carrying on that Hand legacy of providing traditional barbershop service alongside the tobacconist side of the business, which was similar to what you would have seen 50, 60, 70 years ago.

“Apart from that, Peter was a great bloke who kept a close eye on how his beloved Swans performed every weekend.”

The businessman’s older brother, Gerry Hand, served as aboriginal affairs minister in the Hawke government and immigration minister in the Keating government.

A graveside funeral service was held for Peter Hand at the Warrnambool Cemetery yesterday afternoon.

He is survived by daughter Sandra and sons Mark, David and Matthew.

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