We congratulate the 2017 inductee
Commonly known as “Augie”, “Gus” or “The Boss”, William August Boettcher moved to Kangaroo Island in 1904 when he was 20 years old. He lived the rest of his life on a property his father bought at Cygnet River. This was the same property Henry Wallen originally farmed in the early 1800s and was considered the island’s first farm.
Gus as he was known, grew fruit and vegetables, which he delivered to Kingscote using a horse and cart. He set about working a small orchard that was already on the property, into a successful business. He started delivering his fruit and vegetables to Kingscote with a horse and cart but soon after, a two horse trolley van was needed to cope with the extra produce and his brother started working for him.
The business continued to grow and in 1921 Gus was married and was now using two vans to transport his produce. He bought more land and expanded his garden and Gus grew most of Kangaroo Island’s requirements for fruit and vegetables, sending surplus to Adelaide either for sales or to cold stores.
As you can imagine all of the gardening required a lot of manpower which meant that Gus was the largest employer on the island except for the salt industry at Muston. At times he had as many as 17 people working for him. He started to include trips to American River and Wisanger once a week as well as his several trips a week to Kingscote.
Not content with just horticulture, in the 1940s Gus had built up quite a flock of Corriedale sheep which produced 80-100 bales of wool and prime lambs each year. He also built up a large herd of Guernsey milking cows. A pioneer in sustainability practices, his piggery used all the wasted fruit, milk and vegetables. Until his death in 1971, at age 87, the vans were in Kingscote every week. He delivered fruit and vegetables for more than 60 years. His orchards were an oasis on the river and everyone on Kangaroo Island knew Gus – a true legend.