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Unsung heroes recognised on Queensland Day


A leading jockey, a world war two nurse, a long serving politician and a comedian are among the list of ten Mackay unsung heroes recognized as part of the Mackay 150 commemorations.

Mackay Regional Council unveiled the ten heroes at its Queensland Day celebrations at Bluewater Quay.

Mayor Deirdre Comerford said the ten heroes laid the foundations for the city’s future.

“Many people contributed to the success of this region and it’s wonderful to look back and recognize those who were the pioneers of their time,” she said.

The ten heroes are:

1.    Bill Weir

2.    Sir Arthur Fadden

3.    George Moore

4.    George Wallace

5.    William Albert Amiet

6.    Charles Frederick Bagley

7.    Harold Vivian Marsh Brown

8.    Dr. Henry J. Taylor

9.    Dr. Annie Berry OBE

10.  Ian Wood


Council engaged the services of respected local historians Berenice Wright and Terry Hayes to decide on ten people who they considered made a significant contribution to the growth and prosperity of the region.

Cr Comerford said the ten names are certain to foster debate within the community.

“There are no doubt these people left a lasting legacy,” she said.

“Celebrating our sesquicentennial provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our people, places and stories,

“We can learn from the past and our ancestors to look forward.”

Ten unsung heroes:

William C. Weir

William Weir had 26 years as a Town Clerk and was noted for his fairness and competency. He was a household name, serving for a time as Mayor in 1918 following the death of Mayor James Moule

Sir Arthur Fadden

A boy from Walkerston, Sir Arthur Fadden, had the distinction of being the last citizen of the British Commonwealth to be invested as a knight by King George VI.

Sir Arthur rose from office boy at Pleystowe Mill to Prime Minister of Australia in 1941.

George Moore

George Moore is not only rated as the greatest jockey produced in Queensland but also Australia. Mackay born, Moore came to Brisbane in the late 1930s as an apprentice and later moved to Sydney where he was to become the king forming a wonderful partnership with champion trainer Tommy Smith.  He rode 2278 winners -- 119 Group 1s.

George Wallace

George Wallace wasn’t just an Australian comedian, he was the Australian comedian for much of his lifetime. At 16, he left Pleystowe Mill to become a Vaudeville and Film star

His first feature film was released in 1932. He was the most Australian comedian of his generation, in terms of language and gesture, and the most physically gifted.

William Albert Amiet

He had a brilliant scholastic career, wining many prestigious prizes. He served with 26 battalion AIF in France in WW1 from 1916-1919. During WW2 Mr Amiet acted for a time as Northern Command Intelligence Officer in Mackay district. He later became an instructor in Air Training Corps. He was an authority on literature, astronomy and an author of several books.

Charles Frederick Bagley

Charles Bagley is largely responsible for many community facilities, utilising his influence and public profile to advance the local community. Chair of the Mackay Harbour Board for 19. He worked at Michelmore and Sons in the accountancy branch and rose through the ranks to be the Principal of the firm.

Harold Vivian Marsh Brown

Born in Mackay – Harold Brown became the first resident to establish an architectural practice in the city. He could be referred to as “the architect of modern Mackay” – (1929 -1982). Much of the Art Deco buildings of Mackay, from the 1930’s is the work of his hand.

Dr Henry James Taylor

A well respected Eye, ear, nose and throat specialist – Dr Henry James Taylor was a pioneer in his field, but also a visionary. He became Medical Superintendent of the Mackay District Hospital in the early days of WW2 and was an attending consultant for almost 40 years. The ophthalmology room is named in his honour.

Dr Annie Berry

Dr Annie Berry hails from New Zealand, but she left an indelible mark on Mackay during World War two. She is the only woman to hold the position of Medical and Surgical Superintendent at Mackay Base Hospital. A ward at the Mackay Base Hospital, built during her time, carries her name.

Senator Ian Wood

Ian Wood is remembered for being one of the most influential of Mackay's forefathers.

He entered public life as an alderman in 1927. He became the youngest Mayor in Australia when elected to the top job in 1930. He served in all 15 years as Mackay's Mayor. He was a member of the Mackay Chamber of Commerce for 50 years. He also served as an Australian Senator for 28 years.

View the powerpoint presentation here.