Vale Neil “Bill” Mills 1931 – 2009


Written in 2009 by Gary Schofield of Gary Schofield Media:

In 1979 Bill Mills left Atherton, where he had been shire clerk for 19 years, to take over the role at Mulgrave Shire Council on the retirement of shire clerk, Arthur Forno.

He was awarded the Public Service Medal (PSM) for his service to local government administration.

The family has given a grand total of 103 years to local government. His son Ross is the fourth generation of Mills in local government. His father was the Chairman of Belyando Shire and his grandfather the first Shire Clerk of Longreach.

With interim mayor Tom Pyne, Bill oversaw the forced amalgamation of Cairns City and Mulgrave Shire in 1995. (At the same time Mackay/ Pioneer, Gold Coast/Albert and Ipswich/Moreton shires merged into the state’s other super councils.)

Ironically, Mulgrave shire stood opposed to amalgamation whilst Cairns City, under Mayor Kevin Byrne, supported the rationalization process, which was spearheaded by local government commissioner Greg Hoffman.

Tom Pyne was elected Mayor of the new Cairns City Council for a five year term, and Bill retired once the merger process was completed , after 44 years in Local Government – 38 years as a Shire Clerk/CEO.

Tom read the eulogy at Bill’s funeral. It was a story of a busy life devoted to the community he served both at work and in his private life through Rotary, sports, youth, and numerous charities.

Bill was a great believer in the adage that if you looked after the kids, they would end up looking after themselves.

He is survived by his wife Marie, son Ross, daughters Susan and June and grandchildren Fraser, Sarah, Sally, Matthew, Louise and Micheal.

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