Bill was born on 6th March 1905. He was the first white child to be born at
Charlotte Waters. He had one brother Fred & 6 sisters.
He was christened at Alindum station an outstation of Mount Dare in NT by the
Padre of that time, the Reverend RB Plowman, who performed the ceremony in the three
roomed cottage built of galvanized iron, together with six of the other children of
the family. The eldest Kathleen was away in Clare at school. He, along with
the other children were later christened as Catholic when they arrived at
Oodnadatta after the flu epedemic of 1919
He did not have any schooling as he was the eldest boy and needed to work and
there was no school in the district. He couldn't read & write but his mother taught
him numbers and the alphabet, however he managed to do well.
He fell in to a pot of boiling water when a child which had been
put down for the blacks. The flannel pajamas he wore took the skin off when
they were removed. His father rode the horse to the next station to get Brandy
for the shock & they believed that is what saved his life. They thought he would
never walk or talk again & was lucky to live. He was 2 months premature and was
raised on goats milk and fed with an eyedropper.
Bill was a close friend of a native boy called Terry Doolan and he was invited
to a corroboree the natives were holding, unfortunately during the dance around
the fire, the boy tripped and fell into the fire. He was burnt to death.
He was also friendly with a black man called Nelson, named as he only had one eye.
Nelson would do a back flip off the horse from the recoil of the gun.
Bill & Nelson were mustering horses and he asked Nelson who the mother of
Alexander Jnr was, he pointed her out so Bill knew who she was.
Bill's son Bob said, his father told him about the lightning storms up North
and when it struck a tree the aborigines would then use the wood for spears
as it was so hard.
Bill used to go droving with his father once he was old enough. He did quite a
lot of work up in the territory when he was young. Sister Kathleen and he were
excellent riders. He told the story about the time he got lost in a dust storm
and couldn't see his hand in front of him. Being young, he didn't know what to do,
he could hear the dingoes howling. He decided to let his horse take him where he
wanted to go. He wondered why the horse had stopped so he jumped off to see and
found that the horse had stopped by the trough where they lived.
He was a good stockman at an early age and when they moved down south, he was asked
to join the Police force because of his knowledge of horses.
He went to night school & was going well until someone asked him to write on the
blackboard. He was so embarrassed that he never went back.
When the family moved down from Oodnadatta after the influenza epidemic,
they lived with his Grandmother, at Kadina. He also worked in the mines at
Wallaroo. After moving to Adelaide he worked at Holdens.
He worked on farms for most of his adult life.
It was in Adelaide that he met and married his wife Muriel Fanny Willard.
They were married on 7th July 1928 in the Methodist Manse, Walkerville Tc.
Gilberton SA Muriel & Bill's wedding was witnessed by K.(Kathleen) McKinnon,
spinster, Adelaide and A.R. (Arn) Rodda, Greengrocer, Walkerville S.A.(Murielís
brother in law).They had the following children, Ronda, William Barry,Desmond Frederick,
Maurice, Robert John, Muriel Kaye, and Douglas Frederick.
When the depression started Muriel & Bill moved to Moonta where Bill was
offered work on farms.
In later years he took up a courier run in Adelaide, and we will never know how
he found his way around without the ability to read.
Bob remembered when they were living at Dowlingville, near Ardrossan in a
big old house with a verandah all around it and a laundry at the end of it,
he walked in to the laundry one day to find his father with a towel and a
cigarette lighter in his hand. He doused his head with metho and lit up his
hair. Bob thought he was committing suicide, but he said no they burnt stubble
and it grew better so he figured his hair would also. He died with a good head
of hair, so maybe he was right. It didnít even burn his scalp.
He was good at cracking a whip. Bob saw him crack it three times in the
one stroke. He had a cat of nine tails and Bob remembers feeling it once when
he was about 5 years old. He and Maurice were told not to leave the house as
it was too cold. Maurice said he was going into the bedroom and when Bob went
to find him the window was open and he was gone, so Bob climbed out and followed
him. He got nearly down to the sawmill and heard his father yelling at
him. He came back and snuck around the tank stand and didnít see his father
but felt the whip on his backside. Maurice already had his belting and had
gone. One crack, he remembers jumping about into the air and wet his pants
and took off. He was so embarrassed that his father only had to threaten
after that. Bill made a cat of nine tails for Ronda and Barry.
Barry gave it to his son Trevor as a threat to his two daughters.
The youngest, Hana said "it really tears the skin right off you!"
Doug and Barry Jnr caught some pidgeons one day up the shed and brought them
back to the kitchen at Barryís house. Bill was standing warming his backside
by the kitchen fire, when one got away. He gave a mighty leap to catch it and
hit his head on the mantle shelf. All the canisters jumped on the mantle piece.
Muriel and Ronda rolled on the floor laughing. Bill reckoned he was two feet
shorter after that. Bob and Bill fenced together and many stories were told.
Bill told his family that he remembers watching his father break a horse once,
he road it to a standstill and others had been trying and were bucked off.
He said it was the best piece of riding he had ever seen. This particular one
was really wild. He thought he was going to be thrown off into the woodheap.
He remembers his father as not a very tall man, but thick set. He died when
Bill was 14 years old, of face cancer. It was not until many years later that
Bill found Alecís plot at West Terrace cemetery. His son Desmond was buried
there also. Desmond was about 3 to 4 months old when he died, they were
living on York Penninsular at the time.
Bill died on 12th May 1979 of a heart attach at Football Park, Adelaide
watching a football match.
He is buried at Centennial Park Cemetery, Adelaide SA