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Rupert George Heley (1891–1957)

The death occurred at Melbourne on 16th November of Mr. Rupert George Heley, chairman of the Victorian Inland Meat Authority, a member of the Australian Meat Board, and an outstanding personality in business and charitable circles for many years. He had been in ill health for some time following a heart attack a couple of years ago and was 66 years of age.

Mr. Heley was born in Melbourne and completed his schooling at Wesley College, where he was an outstanding athlete, being captain of athletics and the school's athletic champion of 1908. The following year he commenced work with Goldsborough, Mort and Co. Ltd., and then served for four years with the Trustee Executors and Agency Co. Ltd. On the outbreak of World War I he enlisted and saw service in Egypt, France, and Palestine, becoming paymaster of the 1st Australian Division and the Desert Mounted Corps.

On his return to Australia at the end of 1919 he became the first secretary of the Ballarat and District Co-operative Freezing Co. Ltd., and in 1926 transferred to Melbourne on the formation of the Amalgamated Freezing Co. (Vic.) Pty. Ltd. He held the positions of secretary and general manager until 1943, when he was appointed chairman of the Victorian Inland Meat Authority, which position he retained until his death. All his experience in the meat trade, and his undoubted ability, were required to handle successfully the difficult task of operating inland killing works satisfactorily, and despite the 1944 drought and reduced fat lamb numbers in favour of wool growing, he did prove that the Bendigo and Ballarat works could operate economically, provided they were used to supply both the domestic and export markets. Having accepted the challenge of showing that inland killing was a practical proposition in Victoria, he devoted himself to the task and through his competent administration earned the respect of all sections of the meat industry.

Mr. Heley was appointed to the Australian Meat Board on its formation in 1936 as representative of co-operative mutton and lamb organisations. He was a member of two Meat Board delegations to the United Kingdom in connection with the long-term meat agreement, and was also a member of the board's negotiating committee when representatives of the British Ministry of Food visited Australia in 1953 and 1955. Also, he led a mission to India on behalf of the Commonwealth Government towards the end of the war.

Mr. Heley was also a prominent member of Legacy, being a founder of Ballarat Legacy and president of Melbourne Legacy in 1940. For several years he was chairman of Legacy residences in Victoria, and was also a trustee of the Sir Samuel McCaughey Bequest. The late Mr. Heley is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Original publication

Citation details

'Heley, Rupert George (1891–1957)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 April 2024.

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