Eric Wilson

Eric Wilson
Living Treasure

Eric was born in Carlton on 27 December 1930, and was educated in Oakleigh, Clayton and Dandenong West Primary Schools. 
He left school in 1943 aged 13, to support his widowed mother. Until he was almost 21, he worked in the market gardens around Dandenong as a casual labourer. 

During the next 9 years he worked for Kraft in their factory.  At the age of 30 he moved to Bush Electric, as a fitter and turner for 6 years. At 36, Eric moved to Safeway, where he was employed for 9 years. 

In 1962, he met and married Jan, his lifetime love and friend, followed by the birth of their son Craig in 1968.
The breadth of Eric’s commitment to the people of Dandenong was supported by his need to strive for social justice. Eric had a severe car accident in 1964, spending seven months in hospital. The experience led Eric and Jan to join the Australian Labor Party, where they worked to help initiate Medibank health cover. 

From 1985 until his retirement, Eric worked as Electorate Secretary for the Federal member for Holt and was Honorary Chief Returning Officer for the Federal and State branches of the A.L.P. for 28 years. Between 1986-1995 he served as a Councillor of the City of Dandenong and was Mayor in 1992-1993. Eric was a former Chairperson of Dandenong’s Australia Day Committee, the Youth Employment Program and an active member of the Benevolent Society. 

Eric helped to form the University of the Third Age and was a foundation member of the Dandenong Foodbank Committee, where he worked tirelessly as a volunteer. Eric was involved with Dandenong’s Senior Citizens Clubs and helped to establish clubs for non-English speaking migrants. 
Eric also had worked for the Market Radio Station, Red Cross, School Committees, the Jan Wilson Community Centre and the Dorothy Bailey House Project.

However, it is when he talked about Wallara Australia that his quiet passion shined. Eric had been a board member since 1989 and Chairperson since 1996, striving for individuals with intellectual disabilities. to be respected and valued.
Thousands of disadvantaged lives were touched with Eric’s contribution to the Dandenong community.  
The young man who went to work at 13, to look after his family never stopped. His “family” simply became the people of Greater Dandenong.