HUNTLEY, Mr William John (Bill)

1932 - 2003

Huntley Mr William John - Creswick Historical SocietyBill Huntley was born at North Creswick into the grocery trade established there by his grandparents, W and C Merritt, and parents, Elvie and Jack Huntley.  He was educated at North Creswick State School and then at Ballarat Grammar, after which he worked for two years at McKay McLeod’s Grocery Wholesalers in Ballarat, returning to work with his mother and brother Ian at the North Creswick store.

In December 1954 they opened a new store at 47 Albert Street, Creswick, with Bill running it while his brother continued at the North Creswick store until it was sold in 1974.  They jointly ran the Albert Street store for 49 years gradually progressing from a service grocery store to a supermarket (known as The Heart of Creswick).  The store provided part and full-time employment and first jobs to hundreds of teenagers over the years and numerous others, in times of need or distress, quietly benefitted from Bill’s generosity. 

In 1957 Bill married Iris and together they raised four children, Donald, Peter, John and Jenny.

Bill took on many community roles:

  • Justice of the Peace for twenty years
  • Creswick Hospital Board 1968-1990 and chairing the $1 million appeal to save the hospital from closure.  In 1985 he was awarded a Life Governorship for services rendered
  • Foundation member of the John Curtin Hostel in 1987, with E A Huntley and Sons and W Huntley awarded certificates for their contribution to the construction of the Hostel.
  • In 2003 new extensions were added to the John Curtin Hostel and the Bill Huntley Function Room was named in his honour.
  • Foundation member of the Creswick and District Development Association
  • Treasurer of Meals on Wheels for many years
  • He printed local news and coming events on his shop ‘flyer’ before supporting the Creswick and District News.
  • He served on school committees
  • Bill was organist for fifty-four years to the Methodist and Uniting Churches, playing at baptisms, weddings, funerals and special events at churches of all denominations in a voluntary capacity.  He was a church elder and organised and played for the monthly hymn singing night at the John Curtin Hostel for fifteen years and the annual Carols by Candlelight at St Andrews Uniting Church.
  • Past Master, Organist and Secretary of Havilah Masonic Lodge
  • Bill played and Captained Premiership and Country Week Cricket; played Pennant and Country Week Golf, serving as Captain and President, was Club Champion in 1961 and ’67 and was also a life member; was President of Creswick Football Club for approximately nine years and became a life member; was a life member and President of the Creswick Bowling Club and played in Premiership teams;
  • Bill Huntley sponsored the above-mentioned sporting organisations, and others that benefitted from his sponsorship included the Mt Prospect Tennis Association, Fire Brigade, Light Horse Troop, Lindsay Park Soccer Club and district schools.
  • In 1991 he was given the Australian Playgroup Award for Excellence for catering for young shoppers with a fleet of child-sized trolleys
  • He was given the Lions Club Award and Certificate of Appreciation in 1991 for invaluable service and co-operation
  • In 1997 he received the Australia Day Citizen Award
  • In the International Year of Volunteers in 2001, he received a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of voluntary service to the community.

Bill Huntley passed away on May 31 2003 and was given one of the biggest funeral tributes ever seen in Creswick.

In 2006 Huntley Lane was named in honour of this most respected and loved Creswick citizen, Bill Huntley.

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