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Frank Ernest Hall (1916–1982)

Born in Adelaide, in 1916, to Herbert Edwin and Agatha Hall, of Tanunda, Frank Ernest Hall, the older son of three children, spent most of his childhood and youth at Berri, attending the Berri Primary and Renmark High Schools, before working in his father's electrical business.

When the family returned to Tanunda, the young man worked as an electrician in Schrapel's General Store and Power Plant for his grandfather, becoming a director of the family firm in later life.

It was in Tanunda that Frank met Elva Schulz, who became his wife in 1942.

Unfortunately an injury to his hand whilst at work precluded his becoming a pilot when he joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1941, so he became a wireless maintenance mechanic, obtaining his flying officer's commission in 1944, before being posted to Darwin whence he received his discharge.

In 1946, he and his long-time friend, Brian Anderson, bought neglected land at Waikerie on Vasey Road and at Ramco on Ramco Road. What they lacked in experience, they made up for in enthusiasm and hard work, gradually replanting the area and upgrading the properties.

When his partner left the district, Frank bought his interest in 1956. By this time, Frank and Elva's family of three children, Grant, Richard and Janet had been born.

He became an original landholder in the Ramco Heights Irrigation Scheme, in 1965. These holdings are still owned within the family. He also managed land at Golden Heights and Ramco Heights for two friends until their trees became productive.

During his life in Waikerie, Frank was deeply involved in many facets of our horticultural and viticultural industries.

The Waikerie Agricultural Bureau gained him in 1946 as a new member, progressive in applying latest ideas and techniques to his orchard management. He was an active member of the committee, being vice-president for many years, also serving on the Frost and Gadget Day Committees. For his service to the bureau he was awarded a life membership on 1970.

As a member of the Lands Department Advisory Board he represented No. 2 Ward for 20 years, helping to determine the watering schedule for the Waikerie Irrigation Area.

Elected to the board of the Waikerie Co-operative Distillery in 1972, Frank served on it until his retirement, due to ill health, in 1975. He spent the last 18 months of that term as chairman, during the most hectic and busy time when the distillery was being transferred to the present site ahead of rising flood waters and before the following vintage.

Preliminary discussion which ultimately lead to the formation of the Barossa-Waikerie Co-operative Winery and its association with Kaiser-Stuhl took place at this time.

A strong sense of responsibility in community affairs was revealed in his valued commitment to health care. His devotion to the Waikerie District Hospital was outstanding.

In 1949, he was elected to the board and retired in 1980 after 31 years of dedicated service. In that time, he was deputy chairman from 1953-1957 and 1972-1980; chairman from 1957-1972.

During his enthusiastic and sound chairmanship, the maternity wing was built, partly with monies raised by the carnival committee and the newly formed Waikerie Bushman's Club, both chaired by Frank.

1960 saw the extension of staff quarters and the rebuilding of the laundry; 1965 the extension of the new general wing, with new theatres, workshop and store, the extension of the nurses' home and improved casualty and X-ray facilities. Renovation of the kitchen took place in 1966 and further extensions of the general wing, new domestic quarters, staff carports, matron's flat-kitchenette, night staff sleeping rooms, extension to the nursing staff lounge, office space and boardroom in 1971.

Air conditioning of the general section was mainly due to Frank's sustained representations to the Government.

He continued his strong support of further hospital development after relinquishing the chair when much of the work was centred around providing more facilities and accommodation for elderly patients. The day room in the north wing was named the Frank Hall Day Room in recognition of Frank's service to the hospital.

During his association with the hospital, he was the Riverland Group Hospitals' representative on the SA Hospitals' Association Council for six years.

As the hospital's foundation representative on the now St John Ambulance Waikerie Districts Service, Frank gave strong support from 1959-69 and from 1979-81. He urged the closest possible co-operation with the hospital, exemplified by the provision for casualty admission at the hospital, the siting of the centre as near as possible in the Civic Centre grounds and the provision of a back-up service to enable full-time operation of the ambulance radio network.

During Frank's early days in Waikerie, he was an active member of the Air Force Association, master minding those fantastic decorations of the annual ball when gliders hung from the roof, gardens grew and fountains played on the stage. Through this group, he greatly assisted the War Memorial and community Association in its early fund-raising days.

As the father of a young family, he was a member of the Waikerie Primary School Committee from 1955-1958 when the committee was largely concerned with upkeep of the school grounds.

His loyalty to his church was expressed in many ways, including leadership of the Church of England Men's society, service as church councillor over a long period which saw him deeply involved in the rebuilding of the rectory, and organising, with his wife, the annual visit of the Tanunda Liedertafel for some 13 years.

In 1958, Frank joined the Waikerie Masonic Lodge, becoming a dedicated member until his death. He served as treasurer for three years, was master of the lodge in 1970, master of Mark Lodge in 1976, a director for four years, becoming a grand steward in 1978, and was accepted as a candidate for admission into the Royal Arch Chapter just prior to his death.

Frank was admitted to the Rotary Club of Waikerie to represent the occupational classification of orchardist in 1978.

He became a deputy sergeant and was director of vocational service when he died.

His interests in sport ranged widely. He came to Waikerie a good rifle shot and became a keen duck shooter. Water skiing attracted him and his family to the river at Holder, where a small group of enthusiasts built the launching ramp still used in the ski club.

With his wife, he enjoyed the comradeship of the Waikerie Bowling Club, playing in pennant matches for about 12 years.

Such was the man who died suddenly on May 1 on this year.

During this account of Frank Hall's life, which touched and mingled with so many of ours in Waikerie, and further afield, he has not been called Mr. Hall — not out of lack of respect, but because his contribution to the life of Waikerie, with the active support of his wife, Elva, and closely knit family, was at a very personal level.

Waikerie, in losing him, has realised how much he was loved and respected within the community for his positive and cheerful approach to life, his open mind, but willingness to have and stand by his convictions and his dedicated service to the organisations within the town which he took unto himself.

Original publication

Citation details

'Hall, Frank Ernest (1916–1982)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


11 October, 1916
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


1 May, 1982 (aged 65)
South Australia, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Military Service
Key Organisations