Obituary for Kingsley Moore Spalding 22-9-1924 to 26-12-2023

You would be hard pressed to find a member of the Ararat community who didn’t know Kingsley Spalding. Kingsley – or Kinga as he was known to closest – was an unassuming man who achieved great things. Kingsley died on the 26th December at the Ararat Hospital. He had just experienced his 99th Christmas and sadly fell just short of his 70th wedding anniversary, which was due to occur on January second. Kingsley was a man who loved his family, friends, life and Ararat. He made the most of any situation. He contributed whole heartedly to whatever challenge that life presented him with. Whether it was his wartime service for his country, creating a loving and secure base for his family, building a successful business or contributing to his community in a variety of ways, Kingsley always gave his best, and his best was always very, very good! His life is an uplifting example of what you can do with good values, positive attitudes, intelligence, skills and abilities, a sense of humour and the support of a loving wife and family.

His descendants emigrated to Australia in the 1850s from Kirriemuir and Fife, Scottland, Belfast and Donegal, Ireland, Basque region, Spain and Newcastle on Tyne, England.

Kingsley’s great grandfather, Reverend Alexander McIlwaine Moore, was “called” to Geelong to become the first minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Geelong.

Kingsley’s grandfather, Reverend John James (Reverend JJ) became the Presbyterian Minister at Ararat from 1892 to 1932.

Kingsley Moore Spalding was born on the 22nd September 1924 in Ararat to parents Eric Moore Spalding and Ruby Isobel Spalding (nee Hyden) and lived at 40 Benbow street. He was the eldest of four children that was to later include twin brothers, Ian and Alan, and sister Marjorie.

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Kingsley’s family lived in Ararat where Eric and two partners began a family Stock and Station business, Best, Spalding & Bell in 1922. The family also shared a small farm on the east side of Langi Ghiran, where young Kingsley would help with the activities associated with running a few sheep. The weekend sheep farm, shared with the Allen family, was used to supplement the families’ income during the depression time. Kingsley initially started his education at the Church of England Grammar School, later attending Ararat PS 800 and then Ararat High School. At High School his leadership skills were recognised, with his appointment as a prefect.

His father made him leave school after Year 11 to take a position in the bank in order to have a job to return to after the war.

Kingsley had a strong connection with the Presbyterian Church as a child and young man through his grandfather, the Rev JJ Spalding. Kinglsey had a leadership role in running the Church Board, Sunday School and the Boys’ Club. He also had the ability to envisage a bigger picture. He supported the development of all young men, no matter what their background, through establishing a Y’s Mens Club in conjunction with a number of other returned servicemen. This group went on to start the Ararat YMCA. They raised funds from the monthly paper drives and a Childrens’ Art Show. These funds were used to renovate the old school and baths facility and establish the excellent facility it is today with the heated pool and gym. He was given a Life Membership award in 2001 for his long association and pivotal role in setting up the YMCA in the 1950s and nurturing the growth of this community organisation over the next 50 years. He was its President for 18 years.

Kingsley’s adolescent years, along with many young men of his age group, was interrupted by the commencement of the Second World War. He enlisted in the RAAF at the age of 18 and was very keen to train as a pilot. However, to his great disappointment his mother would not sign the necessary papers and he instead served as a Leading Aircraftsman and carried out the duties of a radar mechanic and operator. He served in Rottnest Island, Kalgoorlie, Richmond (Qld) and overseas at Madang and Kranket Island, New Guinea.

Returning to Australia, Kingsley resumed work in the local bank, then joined the family business in 1953 when his father’s health deteriorated. He learned the business from his father and eventually took it over. Arthur Plant joined him in business to trade as Spalding & Plant and later Brian McCutcheon joined him in 1972 to trade as Spalding, McCutcheon. He and his partners continued to build and adapt the business to the changing needs and trends. His legacy in real estate has been continued by his grand-daughter, Ashleigh Marx, who is a partner in Ray White Ararat in the same building.

Kingsley enjoyed his sport, participating in middle distance running, volleyball, table tennis, football and cricket (1946-62) with St Andrews and playing with Ararat Football Club 1948-51, where he missed out on the 1951 premiership due to injury. He delighted in watching and supporting the sporting activities of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

On his return from PNG, Kingsley met Valda Jean Kelly and, not being a dancer then, was her reluctant Deb partner in 1948. They eventually married on 2nd January 1954. Four children were born, Peter in 1957, Kate in 1958, Michael in 1960 and Robert in 1962. Kingsley and Val had a very busy but happy lives with their work. Kingsley continued to work in the family real estate business with Val teaching until they both retired in 1991. Despite their work and community commitments, Kingsley and Val always made time to support each other and their children with their education, sporting and other interests. When the children were older, they managed to see a bit more of Australia and travelled overseas on trips to Bali, Vanuatu, Norfolk Island and further afield to Europe. They also joined the Great Western Dance Club and enjoyed a lot of time on the dance floor.

After they married, Kingsley and Val briefly lived in Melvic Flats, but soon bought a house at 7 High Street and had their first three children there. They moved to 23 High Street and Rob was born, and then in 1965 to their current address in Picnic Road. Here they created an extensive garden and happy home with a succession of many pets and animals from horses to guinea pigs. This home was to be treasured by their children and eventually their six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Kingsley made an impressive contribution to the Ararat Community, and not just with the YMCA. He served a term as a Councillor for the Ararat City Council. He was on the Advisory Board for the Ararat High School and for Aradale. He made a big contribution to Rotary and was awarded their highest honour in 1997, a Paul Harris Fellowship, for half a century of community service.

Kingsley’s long time interest in dancing also saw him filling the role as Treasurer for the Great Western Dance Club for several years. In 1988 Kingsley and Val prepared the debutantes for Ararat High School’s Jubilee year.

Kinga has been described as selfless, kind, humble, hard working, witty and someone who put his family first. He had an artistic side that came through in his love of classical music, his skill in calligraphy and sign writing for the business. He also produced some brilliant caricatures of Y’s Men in the weekly newsletter.

While he was a reserved, gentle man, he was a man of strong principles and wouldn’t be swayed when he felt the need make a stance.

During his long life, Kingsley always made great contributions in whatever he was involved, winning the love and respect of all who knew him and especially his loving family of whom he was the adored patriarch, most of them still living and active in the city of Ararat.

Kingsley is survived by his wife, Valda, four children, six grandchildren and four great grandchildren who will all miss him dearly.

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