Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Bill Gregory receives Queen's Birthday Honours

Benalla resident Bill Gregory received an Order of Australia Medal on Monday for his service to the community.

MONIQUE FREER June 11, 2014 3:23am

Bill Gregory and his wife Betty.

Benalla resident Bill Gregory has received one of Australia’s highest honours in recognition of his seven decades of service to the community.

Mr Gregory was awarded a Queen’s Birthday Order of Australia Medal on Monday, and said he was surprised to receive the honour.

‘‘At my age I thought there wasn’t much time for anyone to be able to nominate me to give me the surprise I had,’’ he said.

His contribution to the Benalla community spanned many groups and interests. He held offices at Benalla Probus Club and Benalla RSL sub-branch, and is a life member of the Benalla Fire Brigade.

The 92-year-old was born in Murtoa in the Wimmera district and moved to Devenish with his family at the age of 17.

In July 1939 he moved to Benalla to begin an electrical apprenticeship and has lived in the rural city ever since.

‘‘My first involvement with the community was as a committee member and later as president for 13 years for Benalla 31 state school committee,’’ he said.

His five daughters, Marilyn, Pam, Glennis, Rhonda and Roslyn, all went to the Benalla primary school.

‘‘That was the normal thing in those days, for parents to be involved,’’ he said.

‘‘In those days we were endeavouring all the time to get better benefits to the school which were hard to get, like electrical heating or overhead fans.

‘‘The money was just never available.’’

Mr Gregory spent 46 years working as an electrician and was the president of the North East Electrical Contractors Association.

He was also a keen bowler and was involved with the United Friendlies Society hard court tennis and cricket clubs.

‘‘I feel that I’ve satisfied my ambitions,’’ he said.

Although he never served overseas, Mr Gregory also had four-and-a-half years’ service in the army and left in 1946 to marry his wife of 68 years, Betty.

‘‘Without my wife I wouldn’t have been able to achieve any of this,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve had a lot of tributes over the years for what I’ve done but it’s always been with the help of my wife.’’

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