A gentleman never blows his own trumpet


A gentleman never blows his own trumpet

words Todd Kuchel
PHOTOGRAPHY sam kroepsch
>> Gordon Alderslade

For 34 years, Gordon Alderslade has been a dependable figure in the Barossa Valley, providing reliable service, jobs, and opportunities to our community as manager of Barossa Valley Toyota.

As a 29-year-old young man, Gordon was a car salesman with no ambition of owning a dealership, until the opportunity arose.

“I thought I was nuts at the time,” Gordon admits. “We started from scratch. It was just a shed with four staff, located at 33 Murray Street, Tanunda.”

Gordon’s first job had been washing cars after school at the local Holden dealership. He worked there for almost three years before being offered a spare parts job. Spare parts led to sales, and from sales Gordon shifted to a Mitsubishi dealership for a few years before being approached by Tim Lynas, who offered him the chance to manage Barossa Valley Toyota.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity Tim and Charmaine Lynas gave me,” Gordon says. “I was 29 at the time and didn’t imagine myself being part-owner of a Toyota dealership.”

“When you’re a business owner you’re supporting locals, sponsoring events, football clubs, tennis clubs, pony club, you name it, because they all support Toyota”


Gordon is proud of what was achieved at Barossa Valley Toyota in 34 years, but thinks of himself as a quiet achiever, someone who flew under the radar.

What has been most important to Gordon in business is the staff and his customers.

Earlier this year, he made the difficult decision to retire from the business.

He admits the hardest part about his retirement is having to leave his staff and customers behind.

“It feels very strange,” he admits. “Because when you have a fulltime job, you’re interacting with people all the time, whether it be your staff or customers. You get into a routine, then all of a sudden that routine stops. A lot of them I worked with for 20 to 30 years. I was around them more than my kids. It was really difficult to leave them. They’re family.”

Gordon and his wife, Ann have three daughters, and Gordon fondly recalls in the early days, Ann pushing the pram back and forth while working in the office, achieving two essential roles that have led to their happiness and achievements together.

Ann was the business manager and backbone of Barossa Valley Toyota.

Gordon recognises the support he has received within the Barossa and has always made an effort to give back.

“When you’re a business owner you’re supporting locals, sponsoring events, football clubs, tennis clubs, pony club, you name it, because they all support Toyota,” Gordon acknowledges.

“I was born and bred in The Barossa and I’m the biggest advocate whenever possible for buying local. This is where we live and we need to make sure these people and businesses survive and prosper.”

Gordon enjoys the community and has played cornet in the Tanunda Town Band since he was eight years old, beginning in the Tanunda Junior band in 1968, before moving up to the senior grade, in which he still plays today. Gordon is also Vice President of the band.

“I’m one of the older members now,” Gordon says. “Though I don’t feel it. I enjoy it, it’s my release.

“The Tanunda Town Band is a community organisation who do things for the community,” Gordon continues. “If you’ve ever been to one of the Melodienachts you’ll have seen that it’s a big undertaking.

“It takes a lot of money to run the band, and the band’s existed since 1857. They’re a great asset to the community, but again, we need locals to support the band, because once it goes, it’s a tradition lost.

“Luckily, we have a lot of young people in the Tanunda Band Academy now, who will continue the tradition.”

Gordon is also a member of the Barossa Valley Squash Club and plays weekly at the Rex at Tanunda

“(It’s) the only sport I really play,” Gordon shares. “I’ve played squash since I was 17 and I’m still enjoying it.”

Another weekly ritual for Gordon is the Barossa Farmers Market.

“We go every Saturday morning, buy a coffee, get our veggies, support locals. I enjoy it,” Gordon says.

He is certainly a proud Barossan.

“Let’s face it, we have everything here,” Gordon says. “Great restaurants, schools, food, wine. It’s just perfect.”

When asked about what led to Gordon retiring after 34 years, he explains that he wanted to leave while still young and fit enough to enjoy the next chapter.

“I’m not burnt out, but I wanted to leave a legacy that is pretty good, on a high,” Gordon says. “But really, we just felt like it was time. It’s only been three months, but I believe it was a good decision, now it’s time to enjoy retirement, travel and spend more time with my family.”

With six acres of vineyard, and a few old cars needing his attention, Gordon has plenty to keep him occupied in retirement. And with his first grandchild on the way, life is about to get a whole lot more exciting.

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