Gregory Peter Golding was born just shy of the end of the war. His father was in New Guinea and his mother was living at Mile End. As it was for many families at that time, baby Gregory came home to a house full of women: grandma, mother, and two aunties who all doted on him.
Once life regained normality his mother and father shifted to Malvern and then took up a soldier settlement property at Ashton. Greg attended Basket Range Primary School and Urrbrae Agricultural College where he became a prefect in his last year.
He played local football and tennis and was named best and fairest numerous times. After school he worked at Waite Agricultural Institute in the Agronomy Depart-ment and continued his education in agriculture at university.
During this time he caught the eye of a beautiful dark-haired lass down the road at Basket Range. Maybe it was his cheeky smile or his impeccable dance moves, but something worked and Greg and Connie were married in 1966.
Greg began growing strawberries at the Ashton property for sale at the East End Market. Soon this became a full-time occupation as he started selling fruit for the Ashton Cold Stores on behalf of the local growers.
He and Connie built a home at Ashton with Greg continuing to go to market each day. He soon realised that there were opportunities to be had further afield and they purchased a fruit and veg round to Port Lincoln. He did this for several years while still going to market in Adelaide on other days.
With the birth of Joanne in 1969, Darren in 1970 and Lindy in 1972, this chapter of his life cemented the importance of the family unit for Greg. Family was everything to him.
Life was very busy but Greg continued to seek further opportunities for the business and in 1973 he purchased a fruit and veg run to Broken Hill twice weekly, while continuing the run to Port Lincoln.
In 1975 Darryl, his only sibling, joined the company and Golding Bros was established. Together with Connie and Judy the business was run from the Ashton premises, but Darryl and Judy then moved to Port Lincoln and kept that end of the business running.
With the purchase of new trucks, a foray into interstate haulage began but Greg’s first love was the East End Market. He became actively involved with the running of the market and held several positions with the Chamber of Fruit and Vegetables, including president of both the State and national bodies.
In 1983 a store was purchased in the East End Market and in time Greg became involved with the organisation of the new Pooraka Market. This move in 1988 allowed the brothers to expand and soon Lenswood Cold Stores became another client. Greg continued his interest in the fruit and veg industry and held the position of Australian chairman for Australian United Fruit, becoming Australasian president of the government umbrella group for all fruit and veg sold Australia-wide. The eventual sale of the Golding Bros business in 2003 marked the end of Greg’s involvement in the wholesale markets.
Greg had purchased some land at Lobethal eight years earlier and while still in the market full-time, he and Connie established a vineyard and began contract growing fruit for Tatachilla. During this period Greg’s life was marked by early mornings in the market, a dash home for a quick lunch and then straight into the vineyard. Greg never shied from long days of hard work; it was an example of the work ethic that he displayed his entire life.
When son Darren returned from overseas, he began designing a stone barn for the property to house the farm machinery and some cosy living quarters for Connie and Greg.
Greg and Darren worked side by side to build the significant building that remains at the heart of the property today. After becoming involved in the vineyard and studying viticulture, Darren worked with his parents to continue planting the Western Branch Vineyard. By 2002 he and his wife Lucy had launched the Golding Wines brand using fruit from the property, and took over the running of the vineyard.
Greg remained a great source of knowledge and support for Darren and Lucy. In his typical fashion, he never passed judgement; he only offered support. Nothing was ever too much trouble, no morning start was ever too early and no task was ever too difficult.
Greg and Connie continued to live on the property in their own ‘house on the hill’ which became a place for their now expanded family to gather for special occasions.
As the pace of Greg’s life slowed with the onset of Parkinson’s disease, he continued to spend time in his garden and make trips down the hill to chat with customers at the cellar door. He never lost the sales skills honed during his market days and he genuinely loved meeting and chatting to cellar door visitors. He had time for everyone and wasn’t averse to a tall story here and there.
Greg loved his grandkids and wanted to be present in their lives as much as possible. He’d never miss a birthday, special occasion or sporting event – whether it was regular Saturday netball at Woodside, AFL or water polo in Sydney, rugby or rowing in New Zealand.
Greg had a great love for community. He was an active member of the Adelaide Hills parish, the Lions Club, a volunteer for the CFS and a member of Trees for Life – in his lifetime he would have planted thousands of trees.
In the homily at Greg’s funeral Mass at St Joseph the Worker Church, Lobethal, Fr Fred Farrugia said what Greg had achieved in life was “incredible” but he never put on any pretences and was a “true gentleman, not on what he achieved, but the way he lived”.
“Every Sunday”, Fr Freddy said, holding back the tears, “we used to arrive together for Mass.
“I always had bags to carry – the first thing he used to say to me was ‘good morning’ and then always ask if I needed any help to carry one of the bags for me.
“How many times before or after Mass he asked me for my car keys, only then would I find a bottle, or bottles, of red wine in the back seat of my car.
Fr Fred said Greg realised that “Jesus was the only way to the place that he was preparing for him”.
“He believed this even when his faith was shattered,” he said.
“He couldn’t understand why his daughter Joanne in the prime of her life died through breast cancer.
“This was the most difficult part in Greg’s life, however, slowly, although still incomprehensible …Greg never lost his sight in Jesus.
“As he was never judgemental in his life, he didn’t judge God.”
Fr Fred said despite Greg’s illness and the challenges of bushfires and COVID restrictions, he did his best to help and encourage the family to recover.
“Underneath all this he had always that cheeky smile which reflected Greg’s faith in God, whatever life threw at him,” he said.Jump to next article