Profile of Willam R. Murdoch
W.R. Murdoch (Bill) was born in South Gippsland 17th September, 1895.
Underwent Cadet Training in 1911 and enlisted in the A.I.F. 2/2/15. Embarked 12th May, landed in Suez 12th June and arrived at the Dardanells 17th August. He was evacuated with enteric fever, dangerously ill, and sent to hospital in Alexandria and later to Australia. After convalescing, he was sent to England and then to France. He was wounded in the shoulder and sent back to England, and when fit back to France, caught "French Fever" and sent back to England. He remained there until the Armistice. He was returned to Australia on 1st March 1919, he was discharged from the army on 1st July 1919.
On his return he opened a green grocery in Kurri and married in January 1921. He sold the business and moved to Griffith on a Soldiers Settlement Farm. He moved back to the Newcastle District and went into the Shellgrit business with his brother Arthur Port Stevens. Arthur was in charge of the digging and bagging and Bill the Marketing Manager. This business ceased production during the Second World War but resumed afterwards.
In June 1940 he rejoined the Army and commanded the 19th Training Battalion. Later, he was appointed a "Voyage Only Officer" and spent some time in command of troops on ships travelling to and from various war zones. He was sent to Victoria and made Assistant Provost Marshal for the Second Army, then appointed Lt. Colonel. Sent to Sydney as Provost Marshal and then, on returning to Victoria as Deputy Director of Military Prisons.
After the Second World War he bought two blocks of land at Coal Point, one for himself and one for his son, who was still in the Army. Late in 1949 he became interested in orchids and soon acquired many hundreds. A backyard nursery was developed with his wife.
In 1962 Bill Murdoch sent out circulars to all known (to him) Native Orchid growers asking for suggestions and co-operation in forming a Native Orchid Society. He sent several of these circulars to each person asking them to pass them on to any of their friends who grew native orchids. He received 300 replies which he answered personally at his own expense. Many notable orchid growers were behind the idea and an inaugural meeting was set up for Saturday 6th July 1963. There were eighteen people in attendance and a Provisional Committee was formed; the committee included W.H. Murdoch (Bill) as Chairman and Walter T Upton as Secretary. The first meeting of ANOS Council was held on 15th September 1964 with Bill Murdoch in the Chair, Wal Upton Secretary, J Soilands Treasurer, Murray Corrigan Editor, with Robert (Bert) Cardwell, Robert (Bob) Napier and Eric Gordon as councillors.
During the next few years Bill Murdoch travelled around Australia encouraging growers to form Groups in their own districts. The first ANOS Group formed was Newcastle in on 14th February 1966, with Bill Murdoch as President.
Bill Murdoch has been honoured by many orchid societies, including ANOS Newcastle Group, ANOS Darling Downs Group (now Toowoomba Native Orchid Society), Victorian ANOS Group, Newcastle Orchid Society and Queensland Orchid Society. He received an Award of Honour from the Australian Orchid Foundation in 1986.
Bill Murdoch died on 24th July 1989 aged 94.
Thanks to Ruth Rudkin and the ANOS Newcastle Group for this information received in September 1992.
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