An iconic local name, always giving back…

2 February 2024

Kevin Boland started off life in Ballarat, spending much of his childhood at a local orphanage. But this was never going to hold him back, but rather, molded an incredible work ethic and an absolute drive to always stand up for those who needed it most. Empathy was and continues to be the mainstay of this much-loved Geelong local.

Kevin or Kev, as he is best known, moved to Geelong at 20 years of age. Dabbling in a few roles, he joined local company, International Harvester who produced farming machinery and accessories. His role included looking after 1600 workers and he was always known for his tireless efforts in supporting and protecting his people. They were always his priority and when the company was closing their doors, he fought long and hard to negotiate the best retrenchment packages he could for them. Yep, that’s Kev, always looking out for others…

Kev had been involved with the union at International Harvester and with some residual union members fees, he and friend, Ernie Speight, decided to align with The Gordon Institute towards financially assisting students who were doing it tough, but wanted to study and build their career prospects. Gordon TAFE at the time was proactively re-training people of all ages to get their careers on track and so the Boland-Speight foundation was officially launched in 1987.

36+ years on and it continues to be an absolute passion of both the Boland and Speight families who continue to raise funds through a variety of philanthropic means and events. Funds are then passed on to students who are selected based on their circumstances. They receive a one-off payment which in turn, assists with their tertiary fees, course books, materials, food and transport costs. With 100’s of students to have received this assistance and many positive stories of career success and financial security, this has been a very successful cause to date.

Along with raising funds for his cause, Kev’s next career move was driven by a desire to work solo and out of the corporate realm. He looked around at options and a hamburger caravan operating out of Jacob Street, Geelong (near past retailer, Brash’s) was for sale. So, with his retrenchment monies he purchased the business, but unbeknown to Kev the land was already ear marked for the development of Market Square Shopping Centre. A debate followed with City Of Greater Geelong and the Trades Hall Council. Fast forward and Kev was offered the corner of Malop and Moorabool St to place his caravan, but declined, wanting instead to trade in the carpark at the time, in Malop Street, opposite Toy’s R Us (now Officeworks). He saw this space as a perfect place for street cars and local youths to meet and come together. He was certainly not wrong, as it quickly became an iconic hangout with many nights holding up to 300+ cars and hundreds of youths and teens coming together for a look around, a chat and in many cases a burger or two.  Burning rubber, V8 engines, and Kev’s famous hamburgers became the stuff of legends and people still talk about Kev’s caravan today. Everyone seems to have a great story to tell from those days back in the carpark. Even some married couples today met their partners back all those years ago, in that very carpark…

Kev and Joanne had the van for 13 years at that location. Locals loved it and knew it only as Kev’s Carpark.

Unfortunately, however council had pegged the land for Westfield Shopping Centre, so it was time yet again to move on.  A local Dr, Jim Rossiter had heard about Kev and Joanne from a variety of underprivileged teens he looked after at a youth center he ran at the old Geelong Court House. They mentioned the generosity of the Boland’s who would often feed hungry kids and take care of them, as well as generally looking out for the youth at the carpark. Dr Rossiter was keen for Kev’s hamburger van to operate next to his youth center and pushed hard through council to try to make this permanent. Finally, and after an unfortunate VCAT hearing from an opposing and neighboring business, Kev’s Caravan opened their door at this Gheringhap St site and business continued to flourish for the next 7 years.  This time, expanding to include the night club trade, which was great for business, but their operating hours extending well into the early hours of the morning…

Kev’s Hamburgers however, after 24 years of being a Geelong institution, came to a close, when Joanne’s Mum became unwell. Kev and Joanne had been working up until then, 364 days a year and for the first time in a very long time, they could finally breathe a little, take care of Mum and start to enjoy life’s offerings.

2005 bought with it a change of career path for Kev and until 2012, he owned a local advertising franchise. Utilizing a new found success in the power of coupon advertising, he then went on to launch Kev’s Coupons. This debuted strong and went from strength to strength becoming the leading coupon style advertising medium in Geelong and surrounds.

Since then, Kev has been incredibly devoted to ensuring his business worked well for his clients. He has worked tirelessly, building strong relationships and achieving successful results for his client base. He has run this renowned business for over 18 years and built this on a solid reputation.

Retirement however, has come knocking and he has decided to enjoy all that this time in his life promises to offer. Holidays being a must, many games ahead of his much-loved Golf, time with his kids and grand-children and continuing to raise funds for the Boland-Speight Support Fund which is now proudly part of the Geelong Community Foundation.

It is no doubt Kev however, will continue and always be giving back, because that is just what Kevin and Joanne Boland do in everything they put their hand to. Geelong is one lucky city to have enjoyed Kev as a boss working tirelessly for his team, flipping the best hamburgers in town while looking out for the city’s youth, educating kids who need it the most and all the time taking it quietly in his stride. He is one out of the box and one of Geelong’s absolute best.

 

 

 

 

Kathy, Kev, Jo (1)