Yinnar names park for Bill Welsh

Bill Welsh would not have done everything that he did for the town without the support of his wife, Jean, to whom he has been married for 68 years. photograph cher jimenez
Bill Welsh would not have done everything that he did for the town without the support of his wife, Jean, to whom he has been married for 68 years. photograph cher jimenez

He could have been a rising star of the Collingwood Football Club but Bill Welsh's love for family and community was more important to him than the lure of fame.

On Friday Mr Welsh's name was immortalised in the small town of Yinnar with the naming of the Bill Welsh Park on the corner of Alfred Drive – a testimony to his lifelong contribution and the many roles that he played in the community.

Yinnar and District Community Association treasurer John Harris said the association unanimously voted to put Mr Welsh's name to the park on Alfred Drive in recognition of his support of the local community.

Mr Welsh, who turns 95 next month, was born in Thorpdale but his family moved to Yinnar two years later when they bought the local butcher shop which they ran for 30 years.

He learnt the meaning of hard work at an early age and worked two jobs while in primary school.

He was one of the first Yinnar children to attend the Yallourn High School in the late 1930s, riding a pushbike 42 kilometres every day to school before a bus service was introduced in town.

Mr Welsh started playing football for Yinnar at the age of 14 and enlisted in the Australian Navy in 1942 where he was initially deployed to Darwin before serving in New Guinea, the Philippines, and Borneo.

In 1950, the Magpies signed him up, initiating a potential rise to stardom as a half-forward. However, he played only eight games for Collingwood as the call to return to his hometown kept knocking.

Mr Welsh said he didn't want to leave the team at that time but he had to go back to Yinnar out of principle.

"I just entered into a partnership in a

business ... which I carried out for 40 years. We've done very well," he said.

"I have to think of the future and I'm glad I did what I did. I didn't like leaving Collingwood but I had to do it out of principle."

Collingwood chief executive Mark Anderson said Mr Welsh was the team's oldest living past player.

"We didn't want him to go but the pull of Yinnar was just too strong. And our loss proved to be Yinnar's gain," he said in a statement read out during Friday's ceremony.

"Bill's record of community service in and around the town in the near 70 years of service since he left us is staggering."

On his return to his hometown, Mr Welsh revived the Yinnar Football Club and became the playing-coach.

A businessman, a sportsman, a great community leader, a long-time justice of the peace and a former commissioner for the former Morwell Waterworks Trust, the YDCA described Mr Welsh as Yinnar's "most highly respected living citizen".

On Friday Mr Welsh's name was immortalised in the small town of Yinnar with the naming of the Bill Welsh Park on the corner of Alfred Drive – a testimony to his lifelong contribution and the many roles that he played in the community.

Yinnar and District Community Association treasurer John Harris said the association unanimously voted to put Mr Welsh's name to the park on Alfred Drive in recognition of his support of the local community.

Mr Welsh, who turns 95 next month, was born in Thorpdale but his family moved to Yinnar two years later when they bought the local butcher shop which they ran for 30 years.

He learnt the meaning of hard work at an early age and worked two jobs while in primary school.

He was one of the first Yinnar children to attend the Yallourn High School in the late 1930s, riding a pushbike 42 kilometres every day to school before a bus service was introduced in town.

Mr Welsh started playing football for Yinnar at the age of 14 and enlisted in the Australian Navy in 1942 where he was initially deployed to Darwin before serving in New Guinea, the Philippines, and Borneo.

In 1950, the Magpies signed him up, initiating a potential rise to stardom as a half-forward. However, he played only eight games for Collingwood as the call to return to his hometown kept knocking.

Mr Welsh said he didn't want to leave the team at that time but he had to go back to Yinnar out of principle.

"I just entered into a partnership in a

business ... which I carried out for 40 years. We've done very well," he said.

"I have to think of the future and I'm glad I did what I did. I didn't like leaving Collingwood but I had to do it out of principle."

Collingwood chief executive Mark Anderson said Mr Welsh was the team's oldest living past player.

"We didn't want him to go but the pull of Yinnar was just too strong. And our loss proved to be Yinnar's gain," he said in a statement read out during Friday's ceremony.

"Bill's record of community service in and around the town in the near 70 years of service since he left us is staggering."

On his return to his hometown, Mr Welsh revived the Yinnar Football Club and became the playing-coach.

A businessman, a sportsman, a great community leader, a long-time justice of the peace and a former commissioner for the former Morwell Waterworks Trust, the YDCA described Mr Welsh as Yinnar's "most highly respected living citizen".

On Friday Mr Welsh's name was immortalised in the small town of Yinnar with the naming of the Bill Welsh Park on the corner of Alfred Drive – a testimony to his lifelong contribution and the many roles that he played in the community.

Yinnar and District Community Association treasurer John Harris said the association unanimously voted to put Mr Welsh's name to the park on Alfred Drive in recognition of his support of the local community.

Mr Welsh, who turns 95 next month, was born in Thorpdale but his family moved to Yinnar two years later when they bought the local butcher shop which they ran for 30 years.

He learnt the meaning of hard work at an early age and worked two jobs while in primary school.

He was one of the first Yinnar children to attend the Yallourn High School in the late 1930s, riding a pushbike 42 kilometres every day to school before a bus service was introduced in town.

Mr Welsh started playing football for Yinnar at the age of 14 and enlisted in the Australian Navy in 1942 where he was initially deployed to Darwin before serving in New Guinea, the Philippines, and Borneo.

In 1950, the Magpies signed him up, initiating a potential rise to stardom as a half-forward. However, he played only eight games for Collingwood as the call to return to his hometown kept knocking.

Mr Welsh said he didn't want to leave the team at that time but he had to go back to Yinnar out of principle.

"I just entered into a partnership in a

business ... which I carried out for 40 years. We've done very well," he said.

"I have to think of the future and I'm glad I did what I did. I didn't like leaving Collingwood but I had to do it out of principle."

Collingwood chief executive Mark Anderson said Mr Welsh was the team's oldest living past player.

"We didn't want him to go but the pull of Yinnar was just too strong. And our loss proved to be Yinnar's gain," he said in a statement read out during Friday's ceremony.

"Bill's record of community service in and around the town in the near 70 years of service since he left us is staggering."

On his return to his hometown, Mr Welsh revived the Yinnar Football Club and became the playing-coach.

A businessman, a sportsman, a great community leader, a long-time justice of the peace and a former commissioner for the former Morwell Waterworks Trust, the YDCA described Mr Welsh as Yinnar's "most highly respected living citizen".

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