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Champion Geoff Handbury farewelled


One of regional Victoria’s most influential entrepreneurs and philanthropists Geoff Handbury, AO, has died at his Hamilton home aged 94.

Mr Handbury died peacefully surrounded by his children Matt, Paul, Paddy and Judy and their spouses early yesterday morning.

Mr Handbury and his late wife Helen were dedicated champions for communities touched by their business operations and backed up commitment with significant financial support.

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This philosophy of giving has left a profound stamp on many community centres and ongoing services in cities including Horsham, Ararat, Hamilton, Warrnambool and Albury and their satellite towns and broader regions.

Foundations of many everyday Wimmera activities involving health, education, the arts, entertainment, youth and Landcare and farming sustainability received support from the Handburys and ACE Radio Broadcasters.

Mr and Mrs Handbury forged what is now ACE Radio Network in partnership with daughter Judy and her husband Rowly Paterson, with Mr Handbury at the organisation’s helm for more than 20 years.

Mr Paterson, now ACE chairman, said Mr Handbury had become frail in the past few weeks and his death came with great sadness.

“He appeared very content and approached his passing with great dignity, making everyone feel comfortable. He maintained his great sense of humour to the end,” he said.

“He was a wonderful family man, father-in-law and partner in business for close on 20 years and we had a wonderful relationship, as he did with all his family.

“He and Helen were dedicated in their support of local communities where ACE Radio operated and beyond, and were in a fortunate position to be able to provide help for many causes. They took their social responsibilities very seriously and the projects of which they were involved are too numerous to mention. It’s a legacy of giving, which we proudly embrace.”

Mr Handbury was born in Foster, South Gippsland, the younger brother of John and James to enterprising parents Ormond and Sheila, Ormond having a major role in the family dairy wholesaling business.

Mr Handbury continued the family’s business traditions and throughout a diverse career, broken up by wartime service in the navy, pursued a vast array of interests in the import and export and milling and textile industries, farming and ultimately broadcast media as well as his sporting passion for sailing and dedication to Legacy.

Mr Handbury’s family had connections to the Western District town of Casterton and with Helen Murdoch, whom he married in 1949, had a yearning for country life.

Mr and Mrs Handbury bought a property at Kanagulk in 1972 and pursued a life of farming before opportunities arose to get involved in regional radio where they set foundations for the genesis of the ACE network, which involves a string of regional radio stations through regional Victoria and southern NSW, including 3WM and MIXX FM and newspaper The Weekly Advertiser.

ACE Radio Network chief executive Mark Taylor said he could not overstate the tremendous impact Mr Handbury had on the organisation’s managers and staff.

“Geoff wore many hats in his life – sailor, naval officer, farmer, entrepreneur and businessman, importer and exporter, radio network owner and, more importantly, devoted husband, father and friend,” he said.

“He was a true businessman, professional and gentleman and ACE Radio would simply not be the thriving business and regional radio stalwart it is without his guidance, knowledge, innovation, integrity and passion for the industry. He will be as greatly missed as he was admired.”

Mr Handbury’s family members are working on funeral details, which will involve a private burial and a memorial service. 


ACE Radio official statement

Tehan tribute to Geoff Handbury


The entire November 27, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire November 27, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!