William Robert Dickinson (Bill) was one of Bermagui’s great benefactors over the fifteen years he resided in the town. He hailed from the NSW Southern Highlands where his father, S Dickinson, built a country estate and residence in 1886.

Bill Dickinson was a regular visitor to Narooma and in 1934, because of poor weather, and seeking a change from fishing, visited Bermagui for the first time. It was love at first sight. On that one day here, he is supposed to have noted that the cemetery contained an unusually high proportion of very elderly people, so Bermagui must be a healthy place to live.

The following year, 1935, he installed himself in the Horshoe Bay Hotel which became

his home for the next 15 years until his death in 1950.

Bill Dickinson was a refined gentleman of obviously independent means, was a Batchelor and philanthropist and owned several prime lots of land in Bermagui. Two such blocks in the names of his nephews, Sam and Pat Osborne, were donated to erect the Horshoe Bay Retirement units at 5 Montague Street.

In the crowded 15 years, he funded wholly or partially a number of civil projects to beautify Bermagui and to provide facilities for the residents. His use of local labour in depressed times is still recognised and applauded by the older residents.

His projects included:

Bill died in Bermagui, Boxing Day 1950 and was cremated elsewhere but there are many reminders of his presence within Bermagui.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *