|Type of person||Individual|
|Date of birth||1933|
|Place of birth|| Gawler
|Date of death||2001|
“Some years ago The Bunyip contacted well-known Gawler jeweller and watchmaker Ken Brereton to ask if a reporter could interview him for a “personality piece”.
Usually so accommodating and co-operative with almost any kind of request, on this occasion, Ken flatly refused. “You’ll have to wait until I’m dead” he laughed. Today he would be wearing his typical wry smile and even chuckling at the thought that the moment had arrived and someone was struggling to do justice to him in an obituary.
He died on September 8 aged 68, and it is a measure of the respect people had for him that the Tod Street Church could not contain the huge crowd which attended his funeral on September 14. It was conducted by the Rev. Richard Carter, followed by a graveside committal at the Willaston cemetery, then light refreshments at the Tod Street hall.
Kenneth Brereton was born on July 20, 1933, at Gawler, the youngest of 10 children of George Albert Arnold Brereton and his wife Martha Ruth. He grew up in Gawler, attending Gawler Primary School and Gawler High School before starting work at Mattie’s Furniture Emporium in Murray Street.
In 1954 he completed six month’s National Service with the RAAF at Tottenham, Victoria, before starting work for his older brother Gordon, with whom he trained as a watchmaker. He met Margaret Mary Lodge and they married in 1958 at Tod Street (then Methodist) Church. The couple’s two daughters, Sandra (1963) and Carolyn (1967) were baptised in the same Church.
In 1966 Ken and Margaret entered into a partnership arrangement with Gordon and his wife Betty and in 1974 they took over the watchmaker and jeweller business on Gordon’s retirement. The business was originally located in a small shop in what is now known as Victory Square on the eastern side of Murray Street. Later, Ken and Margaret moved to the western side of the street into what is today Hearing ServicesSA.
In 1982, after Hamilton’s Menswear store at the corner of Murray Street and Tod Street closed, Ken again moved his business into the larger premises, which quickly became known as “Brereton’s Corner”. He had a firm and unbending golden rule in the business – “The customer always comes first” – and every person who ever worked for him, including family members, all knew and abided by that rule. The business was his hobby and his life and he was never happier that when he was in the shop. Almost every evening around 7 o’clock he would return to the shop to balance the till, enter up the books and prepare for the next day’s trading. His car, with distinctive registration plates KB0033 was a familiar sight to many Gawler people early every evening parked in front of the shop.
Generous to a fault, Ken will be remembered by people from all sections of the community, clubs and associations, for his donations. He was never known to refuse a worthy request for a donation. – a prize or trophy – and countless charities, sporting clubs, schools, kindergartens and other organisations benefitted over many years. Very often he would “go the extra mile” by also hand engraving the trophies he was donating.
In his younger years he was a keen cricketer, and played for Riverside Cricket Club, later becoming club president and subsequently being honoured with life membership. Later he took up snooker and eight ball and was also honoured with life membership of the famous and exclusive Gawler Club, which met in the basement of the Town Hall.
He became a Rotarian and served as secretary of Gawler Rotary Club for some years. Other organisations to which he belonged included the Lodge of Fidelity, Horological Guild of Australasia, and Jewellers Association of Australia.
Ken is survived by his widow Margaret, daughters Sandra and Carolyn and seven grandchildren. Because it would be his wish, Margaret, Sandra and Carolyn have decided to keep the business operating. They are joined by Ken’s nephew and right hand man John, long time staff members Catherine and Joanne and new staff member Laura.
- The Bunyip newspaper 2001