History Corner: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Bill Mackay

History Corner: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Bill Mackay


Bill was born in Scotland on 18 September 1924 and migrated to Australia in 1959 with his wife Pauline and settled in Wahroonga.  Prior to migrating to Australia, Bill was a paratrooper for the British Army in the Second World War. The French government awarded Bill the French Legion of Honour in 2017 – a very prestigious award that dates back to Napoleonic times – for his service to the people of France.  In 2018, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, presented the award to Bill whilst visiting Australia on a state visit.

In the 1960’s Bill and Pauline’s son, Jim, developed a liking for football.  They soon enrolled him to play football with Wahroonga Soccer Club, one of the Association’s founding clubs.  Bill started coaching his son’s Under 9D team when it became apparent that there was no one else able to take on the role.  Bill always talked fondly about this team, who in his words didn’t have much in the way of skill but under his leadership showed great courage every week.   This led to Bill becoming very active in the local football community. 

Bill held just about every role at Wahroonga SC over the years.  These included coaching, managing, committee member and President of the club.  Many would remember Bill at Karuah Oval in the mornings with his megaphone ensuring junior games were played on time and his organisation at Karuah on Gala Days.  Bill was the Manager of the of the 1981 Wahroonga Under 21 side who won the Football NSW Champion of Champions competition and the Robertson Cup (State Cup).  Bill was made a life member of Wahroonga Soccer Club for his services to the club.  Wahroonga made Bill their patron in the years prior to Wahroonga Tigers and Bannockburn Rovers merging to become Turramurra United Football Club in December 2017.

Bill was also a referee with the Ku-ring-gai & District Football Referees Association (KDFRA).  Fellow NSFA life member, Mark Rushton, tells a story about how he became a referee.  He was at Karuah Oval and disagreed with the referee’s decision.  Bill approached Mark and suggested that if he disagreed that he should do it himself!  Mark then did the referee’s course and became a prominent referee within the KDFRA.

In 1971 Bill became the Chairman of the Ku-ring-gai District Soccer Association (KDSA, now NSFA) Protests, Disputes and Disciplinary Committee (PD & DC). Bill held this position until 1973. In 1985 Bill was made a Life Member of the KDSA, for his services to the Association and Wahroonga Soccer Club.  Bill took his Life Membership seriously and was usually present at the annual President’s Dinner where Bill was known for delivering a funny and entertaining response to the Life Members toast.  In his role as Life Member, Bill would often act as Chair and Returning Officer for the elections at the KDSA Annual General Meeting. Bill also regularly attended Gala Days even in his late eighties, making himself available to present trophies and medals at the finals venue with encouragement and enthusiasm.  He would stay at the venue for the entire day.  He also attended Wahroonga Soccer Club presentation days and handed out trophies and medals to junior players every year up until just before his death.

As Damian Miles said on Bill’s death in January 2019, “Bill was a special person who was liked by everyone who met him. Bill made a significant contribution to the Wahroonga club and the KDSA/NSFA. He will be sorely missed.”

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