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Thursday, April 3, 2014

SKAL founding father, Roy King, celebrates 90th birthday


Report from Ian Mcintosh, Travel Agent Update

This month’s SKAL luncheon in Adelaide celebrated the 90th birthday of the club’s founding father, Roy King.
As president Mark Liebelt pointed out: “Today ladies and gentlemen sees you celebrating history. It’s not too often clubs can
share their 52nd birthday with the founding president, so I think we are
indeed very lucky.”
Together with his brother Brian who was also at the celebration, Roy set up King’s Travel in Adelaide that grew rapidly to become a major force in the travel industry. Kings Travel firsts included pioneering overseas package holidays from Australia. The company put destinations like Fiji on the map.
Their pioneering work lives on today through a second company, Venture Holidays. Roy told the gathering that the club was formed in 1961with interstate guests John Minehan from Qantas, Alex Applebaun (TEAL) Percy Bell (TWA) and George Stockdale (Matson Line). Foundation members included Perc Pollnitz (SA Gov Tourist Bureau) Reg Rechner (TAA) Ridgeway Newland (Elder Smith) Mick Connelly (Airlines of SA) and Reg Johns (Ansett).
We drank to the SKAL toast for the first time 63 years ago and after dinner ‘passed the port.’ Roy said – “being very careful not to allow the decanter to touch the table which was a big no no according to Mick Connelly.
Roy’s career in travel began in 1946 when he joined his father, Len King, in a new enterprise – Kangaroo Island Tourist Office.
Brother Brian joined in 1948. The office eventually moved to
King William Street and became Kings Travel and Kings Holidays, selling both Domestic and International Holidays.
In 1963 Kings Travel moved to 30 Currie Street and continued expansion with offices in all mainland Australian states, and offices in Tokyo, Los Angeles, and an operating company in Fiji.
Roy is a life member of Adelaide SKAL, The Australian Federation of Travel Agents and the Lions Club of Adelaide.
As sprightly and bright as ever, Roy pointed out while cutting his birthday cake with lovely wife Violet that he still enjoyed attending SKAL and was looking forward to sharing his 100th birthday cake.
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