Remembering Trader Pete
PETER Phillips, more commonly known as “Trader Pete” from Hamilton Island, passed away in Sydney on Wednesday March 31, 2010. Peter had battled both a rare form of bone marrow cancer and motor neurone disease for over 12 months.
He was 65 years of age.
Peter Phillips was a larger than life character.
He came to Hamilton Island in the early 1980's when he and his wife Nikki were travelling to Lizard Island for a fishing competition.
Stopping over on Hamilton Island, Peter met Keith Williams and shortly thereafter became established as the main concessionaire on Hamilton Island.
His interests on the island include “Trader Pete's” newsagency and souvenir outlet, the Resort Store, the Swimwear Shop and all of the lobby shops.
In the early 1990's, Peter and Nikki diversified their interests acquiring a number of cane farms in the Proserpine district.
Most notably, the farm situated at the intersection of the Bruce Highway and Shute Harbour Road which is being converted into a coffee plantation.
It is now anticipated that the plans for the coffee plantation will be scaled down but it is still planned for an information centre to be established which will benefit the Whitsunday Coast tourism industry.
Trader Pete was known as a straight-shooter with proven entrepreneurial skills which allowed him to think outside the square.
He was a very generous man who was always willing to sponsor sporting events and sporting teams.
He gave a great deal to the community in a very private way without seeking publicity.
Trader Pete's involvement in the retail industry is perhaps not accidental given that his great-grandfather whose name was “Myer” established the Myer department store dynasty when he opened a store on the goldfields at Ballarat.
Peter was educated in Sydney and was very good at sport and in fact represented NSW as a schoolboy in Rugby Union.
In the 1970's, Trader Pete established a retail chain known as Countdown Stores which were acquired by an American interest and subsequently became known as Best & Less.
Trader Pete is credited with bringing discount clothing retail to Australia after meeting with Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, in Florida in the early 1970's.
Trader Pete's wife Nikki says that she will continue to run the business on Hamilton Island and a decision is yet to be made as to what will happen with the farming interests.
Trader Pete leaves his wife Nikki, and three children being Saskia who is studying at University in Sydney, his son Matthew who is a QANTAS pilot and a former harrier jet pilot in the British Navy and his daughter Kimberley who is residing in Sydney raising a young family with her husband who is involved in the banking industry.
Trader Pete's life and contribution to Hamilton Island will be acknowledged and celebrated at a memorial to be conducted at the newly constructed Yacht Club on Hamilton Island on Saturday May 22 at 3pm.
Nikki Phillips welcomes all who knew Peter to attend to celebrate the life of one of the real characters of the Whitsundays.