Stuart McWilliam, a good friend to many, fond of a laugh and a pillar of the community, passed away on Monday morning aged 89.
His love for the Griffith district was evident in his devotion to community projects as well as caring for the extensive garden on his farm which was home to dozens of chickens and hundreds of roses.
The son of one of the area’s pioneers, Mr McWilliam was instrumental in developing the Hanwood vineyards which bear the family name, according to second cousin Greg McWilliam.
Born one of eight children in Hanwood, he took over management of five adjoining 50-acre (20ha) farms when he was 24, a position he held for 32 years.
Father Rob Harris from St Alban’s Cathedral said Stuart McWilliam had been a good friend not only to him but also the wider community.
Mr McWilliam’s generosity seemingly knew no bounds. He was instrumental in Pioneer Lodge, purchasing a new stove without being asked and also arranging to have the carpets of the cathedral replaced when they were getting a bit too worn.
Mayor John Dal Broi spoke warmly of Mr McWilliam and his community contribution, which included $50,000 for the Griffith Community Private Hospital.
Mr McWilliam was thrilled when family presented him with the Stuart McWilliam rose on his 80th birthday, a project four years in the making at an Adelaide nursery.
A memorial service led by Fr Harris for Mr McWilliam will be held on Monday, November 16 at St Alban’s Cathedral on Binya Street, starting at 10am.