That started a life-long association with Billy and John which, for all of us in Ayr, was sadly broken on Wednesday night.  Knowing Billy I can say, with some poor attempt at humour, and some truth, that the Budget Speech on Tuesday night probably was the final straw!

Billy and John then returned to Ayr four years in a row to do a show for Apex and, during those visits, did ‘from the pulpit’ so to speak, help in getting myself and John Trace and Beth Honeycombe elected to the Burdekin Council on a platform of building a Theatre and Library in our town.  It was a bit selfish of Billy really because, although he performed in Ayr gladly, he was always nonplussed and even a bit, from the stage, publicly critical of the venues that passed as theatres in the Burdekin in those days.

As fate would have it, as Billy’s star waned in showbiz, I mentioned to him on one of our irregular catch-ups in Sydney that perhaps he might like to consider applying for the Theatre Manager’s job at the brand new Theatre which the new Council had constructed in town.  As Council we had trouble keeping a Theatre Manager who could get on with people - a fairly important part of the role in a small country town!  The selection of Billy and his friend by a country Council in those days was not without its challenges and dramas, but his appointment was, after not too long in the job, universally applauded.  And, as they say in the business, the rest is history.

I wanted to record for posterity the friendship Lesley and I, and all of our friends in Ayr, had with a very fine man and talented entertainer.


It must be close to 37 years that we knew each other - I initially visited Sydney in 1976 before deciding some years later to actually come and stay.   He and my sister Moyra and Lee and all the other acts were working 5-6 nights a week in the Clubs which were flourishing then. He and John and I became close friends and now John is on his own which Billy was so anxious about happening.  However, I understand John is very well looked after thank God. I don't think I have fully realised that Billy has gone from us - undoubtedly to a better place.  I will miss him very very much.  RIP.


I actually got to see Billy last Friday when Danny brought Billy to the Arts Centre Café for a cuppa.

I thought to myself poor Billy, he was looking very frail but I still managed to get a laugh out of him. At least we know he is at peace and not suffering any more with that dreaded cancer.