Colin Ekers was a true community man and passed away last month

Colin with the cow sculpture at Basham Reserve at Middleton.
Colin with the cow sculpture at Basham Reserve at Middleton.

Colin Lawrence Ekers was born on 27-1-1932 and unfortunately passed away on 17-6-2020, aged 88-years.

Colin was always the great organiser and had time for everybody. Colin was one of the great men of the Fleurieu Peninsula and this was due to his passion for the dairy industry, his family and his football.

Colin grew up on the farm at Mount Jagged, five kilometres south of Mt Compass. This was a distance which Colin would have known very well, as he sometimes walked to school.

Colin left school to start working with his parents on the family farm. He had brothers Ken, Ronald, Len and Maurice and sister Marjorie.

Ken loved machines, but it was Colin who loved the animals. Some of Colin's notable great-grand-parents Thomas William Cornelius from Cornwall started the copper mine at Bolla Bollana at Blinman in the Northern Flinders Ranges.

Charles Ekers came to South Australia from Devon and was part of the team which narrowly avoided disaster as they pushed the Overland Telegraph south from Darwin and became trapped by flood waters during the wet. He was a saddler and looked after the horse teams with brother John.

Colin's parents Lawrence and Elsie, who had married at Wool Bay, Yorke Peninsula in 1927, for their honeymoon drove a pony and sulky from Wool Bay on York Peninsula to start farming undeveloped land at Mt Compass on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

In those days roads were bad and the horse and sulky was the best form of transport.

Colin's Mum drove the sulky to take Colin, Ken and Marjorie to Sunday School at Nangkita.

Colin's brother Ken had kept the sulky in his garage and Colin organised for the sulky to be restored by Des Dent, which is now in the Southern Fleurieu Agricultural Historical Museum at Port Elliot. Colin was the inaugural president of the museum.

Colin grew up on the Mt Compass farm and he was particularly fond of the cows, so he was the one who took over organising the dairy and eventually the farm.

A book titled 'Colin and Kay Ekers' written by Peter Reedman is a legacy to Colin for the future.

Colin Ekers with an award winning Holstein-Friesian.

Colin Ekers with an award winning Holstein-Friesian.

Colin's Holstein-Friesian stud breeding program took him around the world selecting semen for artificial insemination to improve the genetic characteristics of the herd.

Colin always used his organisational skills to benefit others. He had a deep commitment to community service; from the national community (hence his sport award from the PM John Howard), to the the state of South Australia, the local area and of course to wife Kay and to his children and grandchildren.

The Legendairy Interpretive Centre at the Museum and the cow at Bashams Beach were both Colin's ideas.

The Australian Holstein family has lost one of its driving forces.

Colin was well known within the Holstein breed being a Holstein Australia Federal Life Member, SA State Life Member and Sub Branch Patron.

His influence extended well into the general community with his tireless efforts and dedicated passion. The Mount Compass community and sporting clubs, the Great Southern Football League, the Royal Adelaide Agricultural & Horticultural Society and the Southern Agricultural Historical Museum, all benefited from his time and enthusiasm.

Such was his community service, Colin was honoured with an Australian Citizen of the Year Award. He was a truly dedicated dairy industry and community leader.

Colin has left many lasting memories with all those that he encountered. A sad loss.

Also one of Colin's greatest dreams was to have the museum honour the dairy industry hence the Legendairy Interpretive Centre that opened a few years ago. Due to Colin, Port Elliot is the 'Legendairy capital of South Australia'.

Yes, tucked away in a complex at the Port Elliot Showgrounds, is one of the regions' true gems that reflects the history of the dairy industry in this area.

The Southern Fleurieu Agricultural Historical Museum under the umbrella of the Southern Agricultural Society, won the state title and with the money received from a grant given by the Dairy Industry, established an interpretive centre at the Museum.

This new section houses relics and historic information about the dairy industry within the Fleurieu. This was the brainchild of Colin Ekers, a truly valuable volunteer.

The other dream of Colin was to have the sculptured cow at Bashams Beach. Over 80 people attended the launch of the legendairy cow sculpture at Basham Reserve.

The exciting initiative and brainchild of Colin and members of the Museum at Port Elliot was organised to commemorate and acknowledge the local dairy industry, past and present.

The sculpture made of recycled scrap metals, was created by artist James Stewart and emerging sculptor mentee Tracy Grivell and funded by the Alexandrina Council, The Ratalang Basham Beach and Horseshoe Bay Advisory Committee, along with the Port Elliot Town and Foreshore Improvement Association.

After the official launch at the Port Elliot Museum, Colin was in his element holding court and spoke about his love for the industry and his vision in promoting dairying through this sculpture as well as the Legendairy section of the Museum where visitors can see a lot of history and relics of the past.

Colin is survived by wife Kay, son Brenton, and adopted daughters, Jackie and Natalie; 8 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, and his brother, Professor Ron Ekers.

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