Community News

Iluka students who raised the Australian flag, Isabelle McCewan and Decoda O’Dell with Cr. Peter Ellem. Image: Contributed

Brian Thomas is Iluka’s ‘Top Citizen’

Brian Thomas was named Iluka ‘Citizen of the Year’ at an Australia Day ceremony at Iluka attended by CVC Councillor Peter Ellem.

Brian Thomas is well known and well respected in Iluka.

Brian first heard about Iluka when his mother married a fisherman. He loved Iluka so much that he decided when he married he would bring his wife to live in the paradise called Iluka.

His first job was as a barman at Iluka Bowling Club. After six years he left and purchased a truck delivery run. This he said was a great business but after 10 years, lifting heavy loads caused bad back pain so he was forced to sell the business.

Brian and his wife then opened a delicatessen in the main street of Iluka. Margaret was an excellent sandwich maker and the shop thrived. They had the business for 10 until they retired.

In 1975, Brian and several fellow volunteers decided Iluka needed a golf club. They formed a steering committee, which eventually became the club’s first committee.

In 1979 with the support of Col Kempshaw, the two started a junior cricket club. In the second year the club won every game.

Brian and Margaret have served on a host of local committees and Brian was a foundation member of the Iluka-Woombah Rotary Club.

Brian served as a soldier in the Korean conflict for 14 months, receiving the ‘Ambassador of Peace’ commemorative medal.

Of all the positions Brian has held in our community over the years – president, vice-president, secretary, delegate and welfare officer, what stands out is his loyalty to the R.S.L. Since he retired from the army he has been a dedicated member of the R.S.L.

Brian has been a wonderful role model for people of all ages in our community.

Brian still enjoys playing bowls twice per week and attends the Townsend ‘Men’s Shed’ regularly.

Presently Brian and Margaret are on the R.S.L. Sandpipers Day Club committee.

Brian acknowledged his wife in his speech, saying that she was his greatest help and support in life and work in the community.

Peter (left), with Tony Belton who presented the Association of Iluka Residents ‘Citizen of the Year’ award to Brian Thomas (right).
Brian and wife Margaret with their daughter Judy Thomas