Bill Hammon, aged 103, is the oldest former student at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Chatsworth Island Public School.
Bill Hammon, aged 103, is the oldest former student at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Chatsworth Island Public School.

The ‘true gentleman’ of Iluka dies aged 103

AT 103 years, six months and 18 days, Bill Hammond was Iluka's oldest resident.

The professional fisherman who was one of the foundation members of much of Iluka's infrastructure passed away on Friday, and daughter Desma Coombes said they had been inundated from locals and friends to pay their respects.

"I live in Hervey Bay and I've had a lot, and I know that my brother who lives in Iluka has been swamped with people paying their respects," she said.

Born on September 19, 1916 at Woombah, Mr Hammond was one of the first residents at Woody Head, his father building a house for his family in 1923 that is now known as "Hammond Cottage"

"It's been moved now, but it used to be where the kiosk is now," Ms Coombes said. "There's three others beside it now."

Mr Hammond married his wife Edith in 1942, and had four children, Ms Coombes and her brother Doug who still lives in Iluka, and Ray and Ken, both deceased. Following Edith's death in 1975, he remarried in 1977, his wife Jean now 93 years old.

Unfortunately, due to the current restrictions on travel and gatherings, Mr Hammond will be buried at the Maclean Lawn cemetery today, with only a few present.

"It will be very short, and later on down the track we will have a memorial service where everyone can come," Ms Coombes said.

Mr Hammond was a professional fisherman all his life, trawling out of Woody Head and Iluka for many years, as well as fishing for mullet.

On his many honours, he was awarded a medal by then Prime Minister Bob Hawke for his services to the fishing industry, and was a foundation and life member of the Iluka Bowls Club.

Bill Hammond is presented with a medal by then prime minister Bob Hawke for his services to the fishing industry.
Bill Hammond is presented with a medal by then prime minister Bob Hawke for his services to the fishing industry.

Ms Coombes said her father was the backstop of their family and she was glad that her children and grandchildren were able to know him.

"He was one of the finest true gentlemen of his era," she said. "Devoted to his family and children, and always helped to support the wider community.

"He helped the village of Iluka become what it is.

"Our loss is heartbreaking, but there has been a lot of support and love."


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