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Blacktown City Council Media Release - Bill McNamarra Corporate Citizen Of The Year
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 17 May, 2017
Bill McNamara Corporate Citizen of the Year
Blacktown City Council has named builder, developer, and entrepreneur Bill McNamara as the 2017 Blacktown Corporate Citizen of the year.
Mr McNamara’s buildings include Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres, Blacktown’s WestPoint Shopping mall, the JA Fleming stand at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse and Parramatta Cultural Centre.
He also owns and operates the Del Rio Riverside Resort at Wiseman’s Ferry and has guided the development of Western Sydney, having served on numerous community and government consultancy boards.
“Bill McNamara has shaped Western Sydney and he has consistently given back to the community,” the Mayor of Blacktown City, Councillor Stephen Bali said.
“Not only has he been a businessman, but he has also given time and knowledge to the community and has seen Blacktown change from a small town to a huge city,” Mayor Bali said.
“From humble beginnings as an apprentice carpenter at Riverstone Meatworks and commuting to Granville Tech in the late 1940s, he has built a business empire that has contributed hugely to the betterment of Western Sydney.”
One of the original inductees into the Blacktown Hall of Fame, in the early 1970s he created the biggest single development in Blacktown, Westpoint Shopping Centre.
Now about to turn 90, he has served on numerous community boards and - until last year - was on the board of Blacktown Venue Management, which manages Blacktown International Sports Park.
Awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1984, he was also was the driving force in engaging small business involvement in the lead up to the Sydney Olympic Games.
The award was announced on Tuesday 16 May in front of some 150 western Sydney business leaders who attended the launch of the 2017-18 Blacktown City Council budget, which was addressed by former Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan.
Bill McNamara OAM and Blacktown City Council Mayor, Councillor Stephen Bali.
Mr Bill McNamara OAM
Mr Bill McNamara is a well-known entrepreneur whose careers spans more than 60 years in business; most notably in the construction and building industry. He also owns the Del Rio Riverside Resort in the Hawkesbury.
The McNamara family has been part of the City’s history since the 1920s when Bill’s family, starting from humble beginnings, first moved to Riverstone from Western New South Wales.
Mr McNamara was the fourth child of Harry and Olive McNamara, born on the 19th October 1927. He attended Riverstone Public School from1934 to 1940, and completed his secondary schooling at Auburn High School, gaining his Intermediate Certificate.
Bill was brought up by his mother, after his father died in an accident. His mother, Olive, became a formidable role model to Bill and his siblings. Bill was motivated to support his large family. He recalls during his schooldays how he always wanted to become a builder and remembers fixing structures and nailing iron on to fowl sheds that had blown off in the wind.
He became an apprentice carpenter at Riverstone Meatworks, signing up for five years with the Riverstone Meat Company and attending Granville Technical College.
Mr McNamara grew up and played football in Riverstone and, at 29 years of age, was singled out by the then Minister for Local Government (and future Premier) Jack Renshaw in 1957 who said Bill “set an example to all young Australians and had shown what could be done by ability and willingness to take a chance.”
In 1953, the McNamara Group built an office and joinery in Riverstone Parade, Riverstone – one of the first factories to be built in that industrial area. Three years earlier, he married Pat Hynds and they built their then home at 22 Hunter Street, Riverstone.
As the company grew, Bill decided to move his office to a renovated house in Church Street, Parramatta, ultimately being located in his own building, the McNamara Centre.
The McNamara Group has delivered many of the large scale developments that have shaped both Blacktown and Western Sydney over the past 50 years. Such buildings include the WestPoint Shopping Mall at Blacktown and Marketown mall at Riverstone, numerous high schools (including Dundas, Mt. Druitt, Glenfield, Macquarie Fields, and Fairfield). Other landmark buildings include the McNamara Centre, the Octagon, the United Permanent Building, the Parramatta Cultural Centre, the J.A. Fleming Stand at Rosehill and the Riverside Theatres.
In 1961, Bill purchased land looking over the Hawkesbury River and this became the Del Rio Resort. Once road access was made available in the early 1970s, Bill was able to establish this business to the success it is today.
Establishing a tourism business in an unknown area back in the 1970s wasn’t an easy task, however it is a great achievement with it being one of the oldest tourism products in the Hawkesbury Region.
He has given back to the community, having served on numerous community boards including Chairing the Economic Development Board of Greater Western Sydney for four years and serving as a board member of the Blacktown Venue Management, which manages Blacktown International Sports Park. He was also was the driving force in engaging small business involvement in the lead up to the Sydney Olympic Games.
Bill will turn 90 this year. He has 26 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He continues to work and serve the community. With all his success in the building industry, Bill has never forgotten his links with Riverstone, often referring to it as the ‘Golden Town of the West’ and is proud to recall his childhood memories there.