Auction items from Warrnambool's almost centenarian icon

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 18th September, 2014

The late Keith Swinton – who died in April this year – fell short of his 100th birthday by three weeks.

A Warrnambool icon born just before the start of World War I, Keith was part of a family dynasty that lays claim to having Victoria’s (and perhaps Australia’s) oldest continuing retail business name – George Swinton and Sons.

The business was established in 1865 by his Scottish grandparents William and Ann Swinton and carried on by his father George and mother Florence.

Keith was well schooled in the large family enterprise, progressing through its every department, and, although only in his 20s when World War II broke out, was able with his wife Joyce to successfully run the business while his older brother Frank went off to fight.

An adventurer at heart, Keith learned to drive at an early age, piloting the company delivery truck and family car – and even learning to handle the large cumbersome trucks of their country store affiliates.

Some of his trips included a journey over the Australian Alps before there were any made roads, a visit to Sydney for the opening the Harbour Bridge in 1932 and a ship voyage to Western Australia to call on relatives.

At age 93, Keith flew to England to see his first great-grandchild without batting an eye.

He was active in community affairs and was a prime mover behind the establishment of an aged care facility (where he ended his days in a wing named in his honour).

Keith also was a founding member of the yacht club, on the cemetery trust and an organist at St John’s Presbyterian Church.

Now that the family has wound up his affairs, members have asked Glenelg Auctions to auction contents of the family home “Cintra Lodge” on site at 40 Henna Street, Warrnambool from 12.30pm Sunday September 21.

The contents include Victorian furniture, glassware, porcelain, silver and various other items such as garden furniture, workshop tools, trailer and an electric mobility scooter.

Highlights are a pair of lustre vases and Royal Worcester vases, and footstools and corner chairs containing tapestries woven by Joyce when she was alive.

There also is a collection of pipes and ashtrays and liqueur bottles.


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