Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Vale Keith Williams CMG- A tribute from his family

by Rob Mundle on 19 Oct 2011
Water ski champ, pioneer, developer, founder of Sea World, Keith Williams made his mark on Queensland and Australia. .. ©
The Williams family today paid tribute to a husband and father who through foresight, vision, passion, commitment and determination was suitably rewarded by seeing people enjoying themselves.

Keith Williams CMG, who passed away on the Gold Coast early today aged 82, was being remembered as an energetic pioneer in the development of tourism infrastructure which brought significant benefit to Queensland and Australia.

‘Through Dad’s dynamic projects over the decades he created hundreds of thousands of jobs directly and indirectly, took Australian tourism to the world, generated billions of dollars in turnover and brought pleasure to millions of people,’ his son, Ben, said today. ‘He was a leader in every sense of the word and totally committed to tourism.’

Keith Williams is recognised as the man who introduced theme parks to Australia with the creation of Sea World on the Gold Coast; who opened the Whitsundays to the world through the development of Hamilton Island as a world class tourist destination, and who was a pioneer of water skiing in Australia.

The family remembers their patriarch as a man who often put everything ‘on the line’ because of his belief in a project and grand visions that most people struggled to comprehend.

The son of a postman, Keith Williams was born in Brisbane on 22 September, 1929. He left school at the age of 13 and took up a job as a petrol bowser attendant to assist his family financially. The following year he became a telegram delivery boy, delivering urgent messages across Brisbane on a bicycle.

By the time he was 16 he was establishing his first business – making leather motor cycle seats, saddle bags and other motor cycle accessories with his mother’s assistance. Within three years he was also manufacturing products licensed by Walt Disney and had a self-built factory in Bulimba with 50 employees.

Through his involvement in the advent of water skiing in Australia he moved his business to the Gold Coast and soon became the country’s largest producer of water ski equipment. He was also Australian water ski champion from 1957 to 1960.

His entrée into the world of tourism came in 1957 with the establishment of Surfers Paradise Gardens water ski shows in partnership with lifelong friend Jack Joel. In 1965 he moved this hugely popular aquatic show to Carrara on the Nerang River and the following year built the Surfers Paradise International Raceway – Australia's first integrated motor sport complex catering for road racing, drag racing and speedway. He was also responsible for the development of Adelaide International Raceway in 1970.

He established Sea World on the Gold Coast the following year.

Keith Williams’ development of Hamilton Island as a major national and international tourist destination started 1978, originally in partnership with Brisbane car dealer Bryan Burt. This included the creation of a jet airport, sheltered marina and a wide range of tourist and residential accommodation.

Over the ensuing 12 years Hamilton Island became Australia's largest, most profitable and successful tourist destination, an accolade it still holds today. Keith Williams is also recognised as the man who initiated Hamilton Island Race Week in 1984, a regatta which stands today as Australia’s premier yachting event.

Speaking on behalf of his family – his mother, Thea, and his sister, Becky – Ben Williams said they were overwhelmed by the many hundreds of condolence messages they had received today. He said details of a gathering to celebrate Keith’s life would be announced shortly.
InSunSport - NZAncasta Ker 33 660x82Colligo Marine 660x82

Related Articles

Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
Southern Spars en route to Monaco – Stand QSE2
It’s been another big year for the NZ based company, there's lots of exciting things to talk about the Monaco Yacht Show It’s been another big year for the New Zealand based company, giving us lots of exciting things to talk about at the 2016 Monaco Yacht Show like our two big projects Adix and Aquijo. Adix, the three-masted 65-metre Dykstra schooner, has been transformed by a rig refit by Southern Spars and Future Fibres.
Posted on 22 Sep
Tony Parker - Basketball player and ambassador of the Bridge
Tony Parker, basketball player with an exemplary sporting career, took advantage of visiting France to launch 100 Club This important meeting took place last Saturday morning on 17th September in Nantes, between Tony Parker, godfather to the Bridge, and the companies which support this Franco American initiative, which will celebrate 100 years of fraternal exchanges between two countries. Tony Parker, the basketball player with an exemplary sporting career, took advantage of visiting France to launch the 100 Club
Posted on 22 Sep
Terry Kohler, driving force of North Technology dies at 82
Terry Kohler who purchased North Sails was the driving force behind the North Technology Group, has died aged 82 Terry Kohler who purchased North Sails from Lowell North over 30 years ago and was the driving force behind the North Technology Group, has died aged 82. With the combined company of North sails and Southern Spars, Kohler created the 'Engine above the Deck' concept which married the technology used to build the sails and spars to be designed and work as an integral unit.
Posted on 21 Sep
The Newport International Boat Show is opening next week!
Newport Exhibition Group has secured a record number of exhibitors, and organized more educational activities Newport Exhibition Group, owners and producers of the Newport International Boat Show, announced today that it has secured a record number of exhibitors, and organized more educational activities and attractions for showgoers than ever before.
Posted on 9 Sep
Brookes and Gatehouse Videos with Knut Frostad
Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos with Knut Frostad, the legendary Volvo Ocean Race sailor and former CEO. See him talk about sailing in general, the B&G product choices and placement he made for his own boat, and then why he loves his Outremer 5X.
Posted on 8 Sep
Bavaria C57 – Something big is coming
Bavaria Yachts presents a new revolutionary sailing yacht, in the form of the new Bavaria C57, at the Yachting Festival Bavaria Yachts presents a new revolutionary sailing yacht, in the form of the new Bavaria C57, at the Yachting Festival in Cannes. The innovative design, the smart layout, the high-quality equipment and build quality, and the impressive performance set new standards - and not only for Bavaria Yachts. …..Something big is coming.
Posted on 8 Sep
Zhik sailors win 17 sailing medals at 2016 Olympic Regatta
The 2016 Olympic games are over and what a Games they have been - Zhik sailors dominated Zhik sailors won almost 60% of the medals contested at Rio de Janeiro. It was a regatta which tested sailors and gear - with one day being the most severe conditions ever experienced at an Olympic regatta. For the Zhik team riders on the waters of Rio, four years and more of hard work and dedication have paid off for many.
Posted on 29 Aug
PredictWind - One stop shop
PredictWind have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software PredictWind the world leader in forecasting believe that more is better, and have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software.
Posted on 15 Aug
Marine Resources job updates
Marine Resources specialises in providing expert recruitment services to the leisure marine industry worldwide. Marine Resources specialises in providing expert recruitment services to the leisure marine industry worldwide. Jobseekers register your CV now to receive the latest vacancies and be matched to your ideal job. Employers choose from a variety of recruitment options which include a full consultancy service as well as a unique job advertising package.
Posted on 11 Aug