Customer in the Spotlight: Ron Courtney
Updated: Nov 9
Ron Courtney has lived in Hawthorn for 50 years. In this time, he has seen many changes in the Glenferrie Hawthorn shopping precinct. Even so, he still enjoys the many resources that the area has to offer.
Ron grew up in East Camberwell and attended Kilmora Primary School in Hawthorn (now Erasmus Primary School) before transferring to St Kevin’s College in Toorak where he completed primary and secondary school. After graduating, Ron was employed as a public servant in the Titles Office, where he became interested in property and valuation. Subsequently, Ron trained and worked as a real estate agent and valuer, managing the Kay & Burton South Yarra office for several years before branching out in a specialised practice as an independent valuer. He also lectured in property valuation at RMIT.
While raising his family of six children, with his late wife Anne, they lived on Glenferrie Road near H.A. Smith Reserve. His wife was very involved in the community through their children’s schools. Ron himself, at a busy stage of his life, had little time for too many activities outside his work and family but he did enjoy the occasional social game of tennis.
Three of their children started at St Joseph’s Primary School in Hawthorn, and later his daughters went to Genazzano College in Kew and his sons attended St Kevins College, as he did. As a parent, Ron was glad that there were so many excellent schools in the area, and especially that the trams largely spared them the dreaded school runs. The tram routes were also very handy for shopping and socialising.
Ron appreciates the quality and variety of the shops on Glenferrie Road, “the butcher [Glenferrie Gourmet Meats], the baker [Bakers Delight] and even the candlestick maker [Southern Cross Church Supplies]!”. He values the “village atmosphere”, enjoying the personal relationships, being recognised as a regular in many shops, and chatting with fellow locals and traders. There is Josh at the butcher, Chris at Continental Deli, Bruno at Glenferrie Shoe Repairs, and Charles at Poloman Menswear.
Over the decades, Ron has observed the growth and changes in the shopping precinct, remembering the opening of the very first shops in the franchise of Bakers Delight and Grill'd on Glenferrie Road. He notes that with the influx of students from Swinburne University, there has been an increase in coffee shops and fast food outlets in the area.
Ron has been disappointed at the more recent withdrawal of some bank branches and believes they could have prospered by leveraging the opportunities the Swinburne University international students provide as customers. While he enjoys dining at Tao Tao and Osteria 20, Ron would also like to see more fine dining options on Glenferrie Road.
After 35 years of living on Glenferrie Road, Ron’s home is now in a quieter suburban street of Hawthorn. He has reduced his heavy work load and now has time for gardening, reading, and spending time with his now grown up children and seven grandchildren. After all the changes over the years, Ron is still glad to have Glenferrie Road and all of its amenities to make shopping a pleasant experience.