Fred and Mavis Boyle – humble entrepreneurs leave gift of hope
As South Australia’s only specialist paediatric hospital and the State’s largest maternity and obstetric service, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital has cared for generations of South Australians, as well as patients from the Northern Territory, Broken Hill and the Sunraysia region of Victoria.
The mission to provide children, mums and families with the very best healthcare still exists today, as does the philanthropy needed to support it. After first making provision in their Will for their many loved ones, Fred and Mavis Boyle decided to leave the remainder of their estate to support the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Fred and Mavis married in Broken Hill, NSW in 1928 and moved to Adelaide around 10 years later to realise the dream of starting their own business. Determined to build a good life for themselves, they began by buying almonds in shell and hand cracking them at home before selling them as kernels for a profit.
From humble beginnings, they went on to establish a business on Adelaide’s Peel Street where they processed local almonds and dried fruits for retail sale. An early customer included a small firm called Charlesworth Nuts.
For a time, they owned an almond orchard at Willunga and a grazing property at Mount Compass. Many weekends were spent at these properties with friends and employees, harvesting almonds.
During World War II it became difficult to obtain supplies of confectionary so Fred, sensing an opportunity, decided to manufacture his own. Initially, they produced plain boiled sweets and later they purchased machinery to make Licorice Allsorts and even the first automated production of marshmallows in Australia.
The businesses continued to prosper until their sale in 1964. Fred and Mavis went into semi-retirement but stayed active – Fred taking an interest in golf and horseracing, while Mavis enjoyed entertaining.
Married for 65 years, Fred and Mavis never had children of their own but decided to leave a bequest to support the health and wellbeing of future generations. Their gift, left to areas of greatest need at the WCH, has been extended to every corner of the Hospital – funding leading medical research, quality facilities and important support programs run by the WCH Foundation.