Our Story

WHAT THIS GALLERY IS ALL ABOUT

It’s 1991 and South Australian businessman John George and his wife Margaret, are in the process of restoring the century old  iconic mansion “Silverlea”  at Swan Reach on the River Murray . They had purchased it 2 years earlier, intending it as a retreat from their busy business lives.

 

Out of the blue, they were provided the opportunity to purchase an immaculate 1968 Mark ten jaguar motor car. This marked the beginning of a passion that John has indulged to this day resulting in a current collection of 16 classic cars and growing. Specific garaging was constructed at “Silverlea”  to house and display the vehicles, but by the end of 2016 it became clear that a solution was required to do justice to this special  display of classics.

 

This coincided with John taking up the Chairmanship of the Swan Reach Progress Association from which he was determined to find options to bring more visitors and recognition to the town.

 

In early 2017 a solution presented itself with the  opportunity to purchase the original Swan Reach Service Station arose and with the commitment of volunteer assistance from the Progress Association and members of the  fast growing local Mallee Car Club ,   the deal was done  . Since then the property has been in the process of transformation into a facility that will provide visitors with a great environment in which  to view these beautiful vehicles

John’s son Paul shares his passion for classic cars and will also be providing some interesting classic USA exhibits .

 

It’s works where completed in February of 2018 and later had an official opening in April of 2018. This coincided with a music festival which was held on the same weekend.

 

ABOUT JOHN GEORGE OAM

John, a fifth generation South Australian, is the Executive chairman of the MGA and Whittles Group of companies, a position held since 1975 .when he founded what has now built into one of the nations largest insurance and strata management organisations. In more recent times, John has taken the organisation into Asia  with branch offices in Cambodia and Myanmar.iIn 2013 he was awarded the Les Mckeown trophy, Australia’s highest insurance award,

An accomplished pilot for 30 years, John holds an unrestricted licence . He says that with 40 branches, many in  regional centres throughout the nation,  it has been a major factor in the strong growth of the business.

John is a strong advocate for the family unit, he and his wife having two children and 6 grandchildren. Their son Paul is the managing director of MGA insurance and daughter Catherine, a director of the Whittles Strata group. The group are avid financial  supporters of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and South Australian Variety, the children’s charity.

His passion for motor cars extended into Motorsport . He was involved in rallying and in 1992  became the South Australian Champion. He has dabbled in the sport since and has experienced success in the now famous Adelaide Classic Rally. It is intended the car he drove will be on display in the gallery .

 

John’s philanthropic activities include serving 12 years as a Board Member and Chairman  of Sunrise Children’s Villages in Cambodia. He is the current Chair of the “All Kids” educational charity in Cambodia and In 2014 received the Order of Australia Medal for his services to underprivileged Cambodian Children. In the same year he was awarded the Cambodian Gold Medal by Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen for his contribution.A Rotarian for 32 years John has served many roles in his St Peters Rotary Club ,including President.  Johns Rotary efforts were recognised in 2012 when he received a prestigious  Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship.

Together with local community organisations, John  and his family are excited about this ambitious project that  will showcase some very special exhibits . Local car club members and enthusiasts will also take advantage of the opportunity to display their special vehicles.