Gawler icon remembered 50 years since his passing

THE son of a former Gawler Mayor has spoken about the impact his sports-loving father had on the local region, 50 years after his unexpected death.

Elliott Chivell Goodger was serving in his second stint as Mayor when he suffered a sudden heart attack and passed away, aged 71, on May 2, 1968.

Mr Goodger was a well-known public figure and had firmly entrenched himself within the Willaston and Gawler communities prior to his death.

Elliott’s son, Dudley, 90, said his father’s death was unexpected and happened while he was sharing a cup of tea with his wife, Annie.

“On the day that he died, he was having a cup of tea with his wife and he went out to boil the kettle,” Dudley said.

“It was taking him a little longer than usual, so his wife went out into the kitchen and saw him lying on the floor.”

Born at Gawler River, Mr Goodger served as Gawler Mayor from 1952 until 1958, before deciding against contesting for re-election.

In 1960, he once again threw his hat in the ring and stood for Mayor, eventually winning the election and holding the position until his death in 1968.

At the 1967 election, Mr Goodger’s popularity was seemingly on the rise as he polled more votes than he’d ever previously polled at any mayoral election.

Dudley said his father was also a keen sportsman and was always involved with sport in the region.

“He was a good footballer and was also a very good tennis player,” he said.

“He played for Centrals in the local leagues and often played in the school tennis carnivals.”

Mr Goodger’s long-lasting impact on sport in the region was immortalised when Willaston Oval – home to the Willaston football and netball clubs – was named the Elliott Goodger Memorial Park in his honour.

Dudley said his father also served on the committee of the Gawler RSL sub-branch following his involvement in World War One.

“He served in World War One as a member of the Third Light Horse Regiment and was injured at war,” he said.

“He returned, married his wife (in 1925) and they lived together in Willaston.”

Dr Bruce Eastick was elected Gawler Mayor following Mr Goodger’s death.

Tom Staggard

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Born and raised in Adelaide's northern suburbs, Tom attended Tyndale Christian School in Salisbury East before studying journalism at the University of South Australia. Tom joined The Bunyip in June 2017 after previously working in the Adelaide Hills for The Courier newspaper in Mount Barker and the Weekender Herald in Crafers. As part of his role, Tom will cover the Adelaide Plains and Playford council regions. Away from work, he is a massive sports fan and loves all things football, cricket, basketball and soccer.

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