Bill introduced himself as a third generation Footscray boy who went onto attend Williamstown High School and then graduated from the Royal Military College at Duntroon in 1956. He served in the Pacific Islands Regiment in PNG for three years followed by attachment to the US Marines in Korea for two years and then eight years in Vietnam including six months after the fall. He joined Rotary in Vietnam in 1968 and was awarded the Foreign Services Medal for work with amputees. On return to Australia he joined the Rotary club of West Footscray in 2000 and was president in 2005.
His commitment to DiK is well known and his work with “Housekeepers to the Athletes” during the commonwealth games helped raise near $0.75 mil for Rotary Projects.
His work with “Sooty” visiting hospitals and as a Customs Dog foster carer keeps him fully occupied.
Bills talk on the years 1935- 52 started with the observation that if you’ve not started writing down your history then it’s time you did – otherwise it will be lost to the next generation. His short stories are called “Oh What a Dagg”.
It started for Bill on 14th Dec 1935 in the front bedroom of 134 Cross St in West Footscray born to Irene and Joe a son William J Dagg.
He attended Tottenham Primary School When the Australian Test Team traveled to England by sea and all public phones worked for 2 pence a call.
During his time at Tottenham school Bill was the “runner” with messages from the headmaster to other members of staff since he was the only one who could read principal Jack Downers writing.
Bill lamented the good innocent times that were present in his formative years where drugs were not an issue and those who were fortunate enough to join the public service used to sing:-
The working class can kiss my ass
I’ve got a bludgers job at last
Where it was OK to steel from the Railway Yards and the briquette spills at the corner of Francis and Hyde Sts but not from ordinary people (who never locked their doors anyway). Lawyers did it tough and the cops had an easier life with no traffic lights in Willi and the Railway Gates at Newport before the overpass was built forming a natural barrier to the city of Williamstown. A working man could buy a house in Willi and pay it off in his lifetime. More horse drawn transport than motor vehicles until he attended Willi High and no credit cards or mobile phones to disrupt the simple life.
Bill developed a love of Theatre at Willi High.
Tassie 1950 Mt Gambier 1949 Drama Group Judge Wargrave In Agatha Christies ‘And then There were None’ 8 performances in Melbourne 16 in Tassie Headmaster Stringer in ‘The Guinea pigs’
Had difficulty with Latin though! There’s a story about the verbs and his ears!!!
The trip to school involved a tram to Footscray Station, a Train to Williamstown Beach. Full school uniform including Blazers and bloody ties!!
Families actually ate together at dinner and weekends, Fish and Chips on a Friday night and Saturday nights The Pink and the Sporting Globe and listening to Radio Lux.
Willi High 1952 Leaving Party in the Botanic Gardens And Young Men of Form V
Willi High School leaving year.
Memories of the ten pound POMS and the change of accents of conductors on trams where most migrants were working as they arrived in the country.
Pubs shut at six o’clock and the swill was introduced as a way of satisfying the working man’s thirst between 5 and 6.
John Brack captured this in his picture “The Bar”.
Bells rang @ 15, and 5 minutes to closing and then continuously from 2 minutes to closing until the appointed hour when no more beers would be pulled. At this time it was normally not a problem since most blokes would have five or six beers to swallow before being thrown out at 6-15pm to stagger home to tea or a snooze.
Saturday’s were later taken up with Footy playing for Footscray 5ths – then off to watch the seniors and on to the Royal Hotel for the six o clock swill. Sunday was playing for the RAAF juniors – walk to the Rising Sun, bus to Newport then bus to Aircraft. He remembers playing at Werribee Oval under six inches of water and winning with a score line of 2pts to Nil.
During School holidays he worked with his father around the local abattoirs until the annual holiday where the family went bush to his mother’s hometown of Boosey. His aunty Thel lived there with her husband and 14 children and the grain harvest was all hands to the pump as we farmers say. The Cousins all slept in one room with four to a bed, no electricity, water from the tank and washing was a shared wash basin with one change of water each day.
Friday nights during harvest were spent in Tungamah by taking the jinker into town where all availed themselves of the local pub where notice of police raids were given 24hrs in advance and never on Fridays during harvest.
Good job the horse knew its way home!!
Things Dad Taught Me
- Committees take minutes but waste HOURS!
- If you do not have money in your pocket, you did NOT need what you wanted to buy!
- Man with one chopstick goes hungry!It’s not what you do in the Chapel on a Sunday it’s what you do the rest of the week that matters
- Never drink Brandy (it’s addictive) stick to whisky
- Dogs come when called CATS take a message and get back to you.
Bills talk kept everyone enthralled and awaiting the next installment the service years and was he a spoof or what!?