|Sir William Walkley CBE|
|Born||William Gaston Walkley
1 November 1896
Otaki, New Zealand
|Died||12 April 1976
|Citizenship||Australia, New Zealand|
|Known for||Oil exploration|
|Home town||Palmerston North|
Board member of
|Associated Motorists' Petrol Co. Ltd
Pool Petroleum Pty Ltd
R. W. Miller (Holdings) Ltd (1962-1963)
Thiess Holdings Pty Ltd (1963-1967)
Stellar Mining NL
Teresa Walkley née Gaston
Sir William Gaston Walkley CBE (1 November 1896 – 12 April 1976) was an oil company executive. Walkley was a founder of Australian oil company Ampol and was credited with being one of the early pioneers in opening up the northwest of Australia to oil exploration. In 1956 he instituted the Walkley Awards, the premier award for excellence in Australian journalism.
Walkley was born in Otaki, New Zealand, on 1 November 1896 to Herbert and Jessie Walkley, who were British immigrants. He spent most of his early life close to Palmerston North, where his father worked as a draper.
In 1917 Walkley enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, getting as far as England. Due to ill-health and the end of the war he did not see action in the First World War. He was discharged in 1920 having reached the rank of temporary warrant officer.
He was first married at a registry office in Andover, Hampshire, England in July 1919 to Marjory Ponting; this marriage soon ended in divorce. In 1945 he married Theresa May Stevens, a divorcee who had been his secretary, at St Stephens Presbyterian Church in Sydney. His marriage to Teresa lasted until his death in 1976.
In 1931, with Hawera car dealer William Arthur O'Callaghan and a series of North Island businessman including the Todd Family, Walkley was a co-founder of the Associated Motorists' Petrol Co. Ltd with the aim of providing customers a cheaper local alternative to the foreign oil companies. The company sold petrol under the Europa brand.
In 1935 Walkley and O'Callaghan with the support of the New Zealand Automobile Association and a consortium of New Zealand businessman lobbied the NRMA in NSW to offer to repeat in Australia the model used by Europa. While the NRMA did not endorse this venture, key members of the NRMA board, including former Australian Prime Minister Chris Watson (who became the first chairman), did join the new venture Australian Motorists Petroleum Co. Ltd which traded as Ampol.
In 1953 after striking oil at Rough Range near Exmouth, Walkley walked down Pitt Street, Sydney in a red ten gallon hat, stopping traffic. At the spudding of Rough Range he had promised to wear the hat, which had been given to him by journalists in Carnarvon, once oil had been struck. He had promised to wear it when he struck oil.
In 1960 Walkley joined the board of the Royal New South Wales Institution for Deaf and Blind Children, becoming president in 1965. During the late 1960s Walkley heavily lobbied state governments across Australia in an attempt to fund a school for deaf-blind children. Walkley remained president until his death.
In 1947 he established the Ampol tournament. By the mid-1950s it had become the richest tournament outside the United States. Walkley in 1957 became the Australian representative on the International Golf Association. He was responsible for having the Canada Cup tournament held at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in 1959.
Between 1963 and 1970 Walkley was president of the Australian Soccer Federation. As president he was involved in Australia's reentry to world football after being banned by FIFA. He stated that soccer had a role in bringing Australians together saying that it was "the sport that could do most to bring old and new Australians together and aid the newcomers’ assimilation".
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