DEATH OF MR. V. LEWIS.
Mr. Vivian Lewis, who died at his residence, Commercial Road, Unley, on Sunday, March
3, was born at Bendigo, Victoria, fifty-four years ago. He came to South Australia at the
age of twenty-four, and soon gave his whole attention to the bicycle business, which was
then booming, opening the premises which have since been continued at Gawler Place. Being
a keen and enthusiastic cyclist, and a lover of clean sport, he gave considerable time and
assistance in promoting bicycle sports, and encouraged the early visits of intercolonial
speed men. Although he never appeared in track racing, he frequently took part in fairly
long-distance road contests, and retained to the last vivid recollections of his
experiences in those early days, and greatly treasured the trophies won.
While a lover of sport, he never allowed it to interfere with his business, but took a
personal interest, and spent long hours in its development, being ably assisted in this
respect by his chief mechanic (the late Mr. T. P. O'Grady) and others, of whom several
still remain in the service of the company. In addition to the single bicycle, tandem and
triplet machines were also built. As the taste for motive power was being felt, attention
was turned to motor cycles, and the well-known water cooled engine was developed and
patented. In course of time motor cars came into view, and the first motor car built in
Australia was turned out from Mr. Lewis's shop, and to-day is prized for the pioneer work
it did in the automobile world.
During 1907 the business was floated into a limited company, and under the able
management of Mr: Lewis, trade rapidly grew, and to-day the firm occupies freehold
premises in Gawler Place, and has branches in seven of the most important country centres.
Although a busy man, he found time to take an active part in affairs connected with the
welfare of the young in the neighbourhood in which he lived, to whom he gave his best. He
faithfully served the City of Unley as councillor and alderman, organised working bees to
fence in the Sturt Oval, was an active member of the Sturt Cricket and Bowling Clubs, a
foundation member of the Australian Natives' Association and the Unley Boys' Club, and was
a supporter of the Manthorpe Memorial Church and Sunday School.
For many years the health of the deceased caused him great suffering, and on that
account six years ago he was compelled, without withdrawing all his interests, to
relinquish the management to the present managing director (Mr. H. B. Crosby, M.P.). It
was thought and expected that a change of occupation would prove beneficial to his health,
so he took up new country in the mallee, near Karoonda, and had a nice farm, known as
Runnymede Park, and in the short time allotted to him while there he did what he could to
make the lot of the early settlers and pioneers happier in the district, formed
road-making working bees, and started the Mechanics' Institute, which to-day stands as a
monument to his industry and generosity.
Mr. Lewis had a name and. reputation of which any man would be proud. He was
straightforward, honest, just, generous, and ever desirous of helping those in need. The
world can ill afford to lose such as he, as his magnetic influence always attracted the
best in human nature. Mr. Lewis had passed through bitter experiences, having lost his
wife eleven years ago, and with seven young children, a growing business, and indifferent
health, he had enough trials to try the stoutest heart; yet he was cheerful and
optimistic. When the Empire needed men, he willingly permitted his three eldest sons to
enlist. One returned to Adelaide from Palestine only last month, but owing to the
quarantine restrictions, was not permitted to be with his father when the end came. Two
others are still in France or Flanders, but it is hoped that they will he permitted to
return early, and assist in caring for the younger members of the family.