90 years ago a young man from Belmont, Eric James Lyons, found himself out of work after the builder he was working for became insolvent.
It was the beginning of the Depression. Work was very hard to find, especially locally. And Eric not only had to find work for himself but also for his younger brother Allan who had just commenced his carpentry apprenticeship.
This was the beginning of E. J. Lyons, Builder.
Eric got his lucky break, in early 1929, when he was awarded a contract to build a “Closer Settlement” house in Patho West, Echuca. What happened next wasn’t due to luck. It was the result of a strong work ethic, a desire to always do one’s best and produce quality workmanship, and Eric’s personal values of integrity, honesty and fairness.
After being offered more work in the north of the State, Eric, who by now had gained a reputation as an honest and competent worker, was awarded a contract to build 5 one room schools in the Heytesbury District down near Timboon. And so for the next 2 years Eric and Allan worked a 60 hour week, for as Eric would often say, “barely starvation wages.”
Once things started to pick up economically, and newly married, work became available in Geelong, and Eric’s workmen are credited with building many homes in Geelong, including at least 120 in Belmont over the coming years.
From these beginnings the present day business, Lyons Construction, was born.
On Sunday 2 June, 2019, Eric’s family and the Lyons Construction Board, came together to honour, and celebrate, Eric’s life and his founding of the Company.
Eric’s life was long, 97 years, and he was a revered and much loved father, grandfather and great grandfather. All present had fond memories to share; especially of happy days spent at Merrijig, the family holiday home at Torquay, and of fishing trips out in the boat off Fisherman’s Beach.
The foundations Eric laid for Lyons Construction remain strong to this day. He led by example and as Norm Lyons, Chairman of the Board remarked on the day, my father, Eric’s leadership, continues to inspire me, and all who work at Lyons Construction today.