House debates

Thursday, 26 October 2017


Dougherty, Mr Bill, Page Electorate: Grafton Jacaranda Festival, Page Electorate: Lismore Flood Recovery

12:36 pm

Photo of Kevin HoganKevin Hogan (Page, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Next Monday Bill Dougherty is retiring from the board of the Clarence Village. I want to acknowledge Bill and his wife Dot today. Born in 1929 to Tony and Mildred, Bill is the eldest of five children. His siblings are Peter, Barbara, Dee-anna and Susan. Bill married Dot in 1951 and they have had nine children: Mary, Jim, Anne, Cathie, Tony, Mathew, Judith, Paul and young Bill. From there the family has obviously expanded, with a family joke stating that there was a grandchild of Bill and Dot in each class from preschool to year 12 at the local school for quite some time.

Bill's community service is legendary. He has been instrumental in the development of the Clarence Village, which I mentioned he is retiring from the board of. He was a volunteer surf lifesaver with the Yamba club for many years. At 88 years of age, he still swims regularly from the Crown Hotel over to Susan Island. He once swam from Grafton to Ulmarra to raise money for the disability services provider Caringa—and this is quite some swim. He has been integral in the establishment of Dougherty Villa, an aged-care home. The name says it all. He's also done a lot of work ensuring palliative care services are available in the Clarence Valley. He is an active member of the Clarence River Historical Society. He was on the board of the New South Wales bookmakers co-op and was a local bookmaker.

His faith is also very important to him. He is involved with the Catholic parish in Grafton. He's been involved with the diocesan superfund and very involved with St Vincent de Paul and other Catholic entities. Every Sunday he visits the local hospital to chat to patients. In business he began Westlawn Finance with his brother Peter in the 1960s. This is a significant local finance company which employs hundreds of people.

There is more I could say, but I think you get the point. As his son once told me, he's a hard act to follow. Bill and Dot, it is very obvious to all of us how much you love our community. Let me say this: your community loves you and thanks you for everything you have contributed over many decades of selfless giving.

It's an exciting time in Grafton at the moment, with a sea of purple blossoms from the jacaranda trees. With that comes the Jacaranda Festival. Part of that is the crowning of the Jacaranda Queen and Junior Jacaranda Queen. The queens will be announced this Saturday evening at the official queen crowning ceremony. I wish all the candidates the best. This year's Jacaranda Queen candidates are Brielle Lentfer, Jozee Adamson, Bridgett Mawhirt, Alana Gordon, Emilee Wall, Erika Honnery and Rachael Noakes. The 2017 Matron of Honour is Patricia Hewitt. The Junior Queen candidates are Tahlia O'Hara, Kailee Rose, Madeleine Howell, Madison Nicholl, Holly Blundell, and Leah Hallam. Good luck, and well done to all of you for entering.

Thousands of people turned out to see international rugby descend on Crozier Field in Lismore this week as the international Barbarians took on the Classic Wallabies. The twilight fixture saw the international Barbarians play outside of a capital city for the first time in their history. This is one of only two games that these two teams are playing in New South Wales, and all of the proceeds from the match will be going to assist the flood recovery effort in the Lismore area. While they were here, the Classic Wallabies helped many of the local clubs with a free coaching clinic. Locals who played in the Classic Wallabies were Jake Douglas, Matt and Alex Gibbon and Wollongbar-Alstonville's Bill Johnston—Bill, I would have given you game time. Despite their efforts, the valiant Classic Wallabies were narrowly defeated, 27-24. Perhaps they needed the support of Yamba's Kane Douglas, who was intending to run on but got called up for the Wallabies squad instead. I thank everyone involved for making this happen.