The sweeter things in life

For many South Australians, the Blackeby family name is synonymous with much-loved lollies from our younger years – humbugs, liquorice allsorts, fish lollies and peanut brittle to name just a few. But few people in our community realise that while William Edward Blackeby may have been the face of Blackeby’s Lolly Shop, he had a sweeter side that was kept very much under wraps.

William Edward Blackeby, known as Bill, was born in 1909. He followed in his father’s footsteps by entering the confectionary business. The family had a stall in Adelaide’s Central Market – which today still sells Blackeby sweets and is considered one of the oldest traders in the Market. Their stall was the very first to have a cash register and as a young boy, Bill would operate the register on Friday nights after school to the amusement of customers.

Bill formally joined the family business in 1925 and continued to work hard, expanding the business and adding to the lines of lollies and sweets manufactured. He married his wife Eileen and they went on to have 6 children. It was during this time that Bill began to support causes that were close to his heart.

Bill Blackeby’s generosity

His children remember their father as a very humble and generous man. They shared:

“As far as we know, our father regularly supported at least 27 charities in addition to giving donations to churches, schools and individuals in need. Most of his donations were given anonymously.”

Blackebys' famous fish lollies.

Blackebys’ famous fish lollies.

One such recipient was the then Adelaide Children’s Hospital with which Bill had a long-standing association after two of his children were cared for there. His giving dates back to at least 1953. For a time it is believed his name was recorded in the Hospital’s Rose Ward in recognition of his philanthropy.

Each and every year, Bill continued his loyal support of the Hospital and other charitable organisations. Eventually, he decided it was time to pass the baton onto his children. They told us:

“One day in 1981 when we children were together, our father said that he had helped us during our lives. As we were all reasonably well off, he intended to set up a Trust to give money to charities. As a Christian, he had a heart for people – especially for children, the disadvantaged and those experiencing difficulties.”

Bill used his personal savings to set up the EB Charitable Trust with funds to be used solely for charitable giving.  After Bill passed away in 1997, his children became responsible for carrying out his wishes. This included continuing to distribute the funds to charity.

“We have been blessed to enable dad’s legacy to continue to help others,” they shared.

Blackeby's Sweets Depot in the Central Market Arcade.

Blackeby’s Sweets Depot in the Central Market Arcade. (Supplied: City of Adelaide)

Supporting the Beach House

The EB Charitable Trust had a maximum term of 40 years. So this year, per its terms, it had to be dissolved. Upon its closing, the Blackeby family made a final donation from the Trust of $100,000. This was in support of the WCH Foundation Laklinyeri Beach House. The Beach House provides a medically-equipped holiday space for families with children in palliative or complex care at the WCH.

“Victor Harbor was our parent’s holiday venue every January when dad took his two weeks off from work. We know that he would be thrilled to know that this is where this donation has been directed.”

If you’d like to learn more about leaving a gift for future generations in your Will, click here or contact Fern Cargill, Bequests and Research Manager, on (08) 8464 7900.

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