Community mourns Ballarat businessman with a big heart | Tribute to Gary Browning

The Ballarat community is mourning the death of renowned businessman Gary Browning.

Mr Browning died on Saturday. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  

LOVED AND REMEMBERED: Popular Ballarat businessman Gary Browning at The Lane at George Hotel in 2013. Picture: Lachlan Bence

LOVED AND REMEMBERED: Popular Ballarat businessman Gary Browning at The Lane at George Hotel in 2013. Picture: Lachlan Bence

The 63-year-old, best known as owner of The George Hotel, made his mark on the Ballarat hospitality scene as owner of a number of CBD businesses. 

He is remembered for his commitment to community and thinking of others, most recently as host of an extravagant fundraising dinner for the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre. 

The gala dinner at the Mining Exchange in December 2017 raised $75,000 for care, treatment and research at BRICC. 

Ballarat Health Services chief executive officer Dale Fraser described Mr Browning as Ballarat’s unsung success story. 

“He was one of Ballarat’s most highly regarded business people but he was very humble. He was able to forge a number of businesses that were highly successful but also support other business owners around him to be as successful as well,” he said. 

“The money Gary has raised is going to expand our Wellness Centre which means that cancer patients who are going through the same journey he was going through will get the benefit of his contribution to have services, information and resources available to them at a time when they are most vulnerable.

It marks Gary’s legacy quite strongly that even in his own battle, his capacity to contribute to others is to be admired.

Dale Fraser, Ballarat Health Services chief executive officer

“The money will ensure people don’t just get good medical care, but good emotional and physical care.”

Australian Hotels Association chief executive officer Paddy O’Sullivan said Mr Browning was known throughout Victoria as a ‘pub pioneer’. 

“Beyond Ballarat Gary was known as a real industry leader. Often you would have publicans from all over the state who would drop in and see Gary in Ballarat, to see the type of pubs he was operating,” he said. 

“I first met Gary when he invited me to Ballarat to participate in the Ballarat Liquor Accord, where local police, local publicans and industry figures would meet to talk about the issues around how unruly patrons might try to access pubs. Gary was a leader in that space to make sure we set standards of behaviour that were acceptable inside our pubs and hotels in Ballarat. He worked very closely with Victoria police representatives to make sure we had a safer community.”

Jan and Gary Browning celebrate their award at The George Hotel in 2013. Picture: Craig Holloway

Jan and Gary Browning celebrate their award at The George Hotel in 2013. Picture: Craig Holloway

Mr Browning is survived by his wife Jan, siblings John, Jill and Phillip, and children Julie-Anne, Kathy and Mark. 

He has 10 grandchildren; Tayla, Lachlan, Sari, Xavier, Conner, Jacob, Ethan, Aden, Lily and Isabella.