Working together a focus for former Corangamite Shire president

FORMER Corangamite Shire president Alan Gilchrist has been remembered as a man who was able to look beyond his own patch and focus on the greater good of the shire. 

The Terang man, who was the first president of the Corangamite Shire, died on May 20, aged 81. He was farewelled at a private funeral last week. 

Mr Gilchrist was a councillor on the former Hampden Shire from 1989-1994, prior to council amalgamations.  

Following two years of council commissioners post amalgamation, Mr Gilchrist was elected to the central ward of the newly-formed Corangamite Shire at the first elections in 1996. 

Mr Gilchrist served one term as shire president from 1996 to 1997 and then as mayor from 1997-1998 before retiring at the March 1999 poll. 

Corangamite Shire councillor Geoff Smith said Mr Gilchrist held the unique position of being the only president of the Corangamite Shire.

“After amalgamation the state government gave the option of having a president or mayor as the leader of the shire, we elected to go with president,” he said. 

“But a year later we changed it to mayor to be uniform with the rest of the state, so Alan holds a unique title in Corangamite Shire history.

“We were very lucky to have him as our first leader. He set in place the culture of getting along and working together we still have in council to this day. 

“The only problem was he didn’t stay long enough. He only served two terms, but he had much to contribute.” 

Corangamite Shire mayor Chris O’Connor said he had visited Mr Gilchrist in hospital in the week before his death. “He was still concerned with what was happening in the community,” Cr O’Connor said. 

“He was asking me about what was happening across the shire and wanted to make sure the roses from the avenue in Terang were going back once the streetscape works had been completed. 

“He told me the best thing he oversaw during his time was the refurbishment of the former chambers in Camperdown. He could see the shire as a whole, not just his own patch.” 

Mr Gilchrist was also a well known trader in Terang, as the town’s newsagent for 18 years, before running a travel agency and Tattslotto agency until his retirement. 

He was also a founding member of the town’s Probus club and a keen amateur radio operator, with his car bearing distinctive custom number plates, his radio call sign. 

Mr Gilchrist is survived by wife Margo, children Sue, Jenny, Louise and Ian and 15 grandchildren.

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