William McCarthyPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by John Huth

The building commemorates the contribution made by William John Patrick McCarthy (1923 - 1987), as Member for Armidale from 1978 to 1981, and the Member for Northern Tablelands from 1981 to 1987.

Bill had an itinerant lifestyle in his early years growing up during the depression with a father severely disabled during World War One. Travelling from town to town between timber areas of Western Australia he attended assorted schools.

He enlisted in the RAAF in 1942 and joined the 13th squadron in Canberra. Here he met his wife, Thelma, a sergeant in the WAAF in the Signals Office. He struck up a friendship with Gough Whitlam, a navigator in the same squadron and was thus introduced to Labor politics. Bill and Thelma married in 1945.

After the war he studied farm management at Yanco Agricultural College to obtain the qualifications to meet the requirements of War Service settlement. He was eventually allocated a block at Gostwyck Station near Armidale in June 1958.

In 1962 he helped form the New England Soldier Settlers' Association to fight for better loan repayment conditions for the settlers. He produced a report which succeeded in persuading the government to revise the loan repayments in the settlers' favour. He subsequently joined the Department of University Extension at the University of New England to organise the Radio Farm Forum.

Bill joined the local ALP branch in Armidale and in 1975, angered by the dismissal of the Whitlam government, decided to stand for Labor as a candidate in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. His campaign director was Laurie Daly, son of well known Labor politician Fred Daly. In 1978 he was elected as state ALP member for New England. He was extremely popular with voters of all persuasions and served in that office until his death in 1987.
[Brief Biography compiled by Robin Hammond, January/February 2004]



Address:83 Faukner Street, Armidale, 2350
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -30.512371
Long: 151.667797
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - State
Approx. Event Start Date:1978
Approx. Event End Date:1987


Front Inscription

Plaque :

W. J. McCarthy Building

Officially opened by the Hon. B. J. Unsworth, M.P., Premier of New South Wales

19 May, 1987

Honouring the great contribution made by W. J. McCarthy, M.P., (1923 - 1987) to the welfare of the people of the Northern Tablelands

The Hon. L. J. Brereton, M.P., Minister for Public Works and Ports
J. P. Ducker, A.O.  Chairman Public service Board
J. W. Thomson      Government Architect Public Works Department

Plaque :

William John Patrick McCarthy
1923 - 1987

Member for Armidale 1978 - 1981
Member for Northern Tablelands 1981 - 1987

It was through his unrelenting efforts as the Local Member that this Government Office Block, the New England Regional Art Museum and the New England Tourism Development Authority were delivered to the people of the Northern Tablelands.  His work also included achieving dramatically  improved educational, housing, roads, transport, Police and health services for the community.

Bill McCarthy served as a Flying Oficer in the R.A.A.F. during World War II before settling in the Region and actively contributing to life in the  community.

His was a career in which the betterment of services for the people was the paramount objective.

The many impressive monuments in bricks and mortar that stand today because of Bill McCarthy`s extraordinary success as the man who "gets things done" are but pale reflections of the love and esteem with which Bill will be remembered in the minds and hearts of all who knew him.


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au