Living treasure Warner’s decades of dedication

Ivan 'Bill' Warner.

What’s In a Name delves into the fascinating stories and personalities behind some of the city’s best-known street and location names. This week the Journal looks at Warner Reserve in Springvale’s Furnew Street.
Ivan ‘Bill’ Warner has years of civic and voluntary service under his belt and is a City of Greater Dandenong Living Treasure.
He studied engineering and worked as an apprentice and design draftsman before joining the police force in 1951.
There he served as the Police Association president in 1973 and received two commendations for leadership in 1959 and 1970.
He retired from the force in 1983 with a chief commissioner’s certificate for sustained, outstanding and loyal service.
Bill received constant support and encouragement from his wife Gwen, who was an experienced scout leader.
While stationed in Heyfield, Bill joined the scout movement and assisted her in the role, later establishing his own group in East Preston.
He dedicated time and effort as an administrator in the movement, eventually becoming District Commissioner for Springvale until his retirement in 1987.
Bill received commendations including the Silver Acorn award for Distinguished Service to the Scout Movement in 1984.
Bill was elected a councillor for the City of Springvale in 1969 and was mayor three times, in 1972, 1975 and 1981.
He is particularly proud of the development of the library service in Springvale, which opened in 1972.
He provided incentives for council staff to attend conferences and seminars outside Springvale because he believed that staff efforts contributed to the overall success of local government.
Bill was the foundation president of the Springvale and District Historical Society and was awarded Citizen of the Year in 1993 for service to the history movement and the community.
He served Keysborough and District Senior Citizens Club president and public officer of Prime Timers.
Bill was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation during the International Year of Volunteers in 2001 and a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to local government and the community in 1984.
He celebrated his 90th birthday in 2015 and in a speech shared that his grandparents George and Edith Warner immigrated from Cranley Surrey in the UK with their two sons, Ivan and Reginald, in 1911.
“I believe they first resided in Richmond, then probably at the end of Buckley Street, Noble Park,” he said.
Grandfather Warner bought about five acres of land in Sandown Road, Springvale, and created a market garden.
“The two sons and Grandfather worked the orchard and market garden and later my father Ivan worked at Griffith Teas where he met my mother, Ivy Ellen Milton.”
When his parents married they bought a property in Balmoral Avenue, Springvale.
“On 23 December 1925 I was born in the local two bedroom hospital in Buckingham Avenue which is now the Springvale Community Health Centre,” he said.
Bill attended Springvale Primary School, and went on to Richmond Technical School and in December 1939 signed up for a five-year apprenticeship with the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation at Fishermans Bend, leading him into his career in engineering.
He said the Freemasons were another key part of his life.
– Compiled with assistance from City of Greater Dandenong