Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad

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.
NaiadNorth Technology - Southern SparsBarz Optics - Floaters

Related Articles

New Xperformance - Optimising the cruiser/racer range from X-Yachts
X-Yachts have built a wide range of 'Cruiser/Racers' as well as dedicated racing yachts which have won many Intl titles Since the company was founded back in 1979, X-Yachts have built a wide range of 'Cruiser/Racers' as well as dedicated racing yachts which have won many famous International titles, and of course One Design Class yachts such as X-79 and X-99
Posted on 14 Feb
World Sailing unites Kiteboarding governing bodies
World Sailing has today signed a landmark agreement with the IKA and the GKA to unite the kiteboarding community World Sailing has today signed a landmark agreement with the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and the Global Kitesports Association (GKA) to unite the kiteboarding community and provide clarity of kiteboarding's governance structure.
Posted on 13 Feb
On board interview with Lisa Blair - solo Antartica circumnavigation
So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. After the setbacks of a delayed departure due to gremlins in the electronics, we are delighted to have these answers from her on board. She is well and enjoying her time. Climate Action Now, her Hick 50, left Albany in Western Australia on January 22, 2017.
Posted on 8 Feb
The price of legacy
Malcolm Page OAM, two-time Olympic Gold Medallist, became the Chief of Olympic Sailing for the USA on January 1 Malcolm Page OAM, two-time Olympic Gold Medallist (470) with Nathan Wilmot in 2008 and Mat Belcher in 2012, became the Chief of Olympic Sailing for the USA on January 1 this year. In and of itself it is hardly the freshest news, and well and truly yesterday’s fish wrapper. It was also a wise choice on behalf of Team USA, for he has succeeded in both the physical and commercial arms of our sport.
Posted on 5 Feb
Zhik becomes Official Clothing Partner to the Extreme Sailing Series
Extreme Sailing Series™ has established an exciting new partnership with the high-performance clothing brand, Zhik. As it enters the 2017 season, the Extreme Sailing Series™ has established an exciting new partnership with the high-performance clothing brand, Zhik.
Posted on 2 Feb
World Sailing headquarters to relocate to London
World Sailing's headquarters will relocate from Southampton to central London, UK in late summer 2017. World Sailing's headquarters will relocate from Southampton to central London, UK in late summer 2017. The selection of London as the new home for the International Federation comes after an extensive evaluation process of possible locations undertaken since the election of a new President and Board of Directors in November 2016.
Posted on 1 Feb
Henri Lloyd join forces with FAST40+ Class
Henri Lloyd is delighted to announce their three year partnership with the FAST40+ Class. Premium British marine and lifestyle clothing brand, Henri Lloyd is delighted to announce their three year partnership with the FAST40+ Class.
Posted on 1 Feb
Tawera takes the NZ Millennium Cup 2017
The Ron Holland designed and impeccably sailed, Tawera, again dominated a lengthier 27nm course on Day 3 of racing The Ron Holland designed and impeccably sailed, Tawera, again dominated a lengthier 27nm course on Day 3 of racing, taking line honours for a third consecutive day, bringing home the NZ Millennium Cup 2017. Coming into the final day of racing, Pacific Division competitors, Antaeus and Steinlager 2, were tied on points. Rumours of an extensive tactical defence strategy to retain the Pacific
Posted on 1 Feb
Rolex China Sea Race launches new official website
RHKYC today unveiled its new official website and logo for its flagship event, the biennial Rolex China Sea Race Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club today unveiled its new official website and logo for its flagship event, the biennial Rolex China Sea Race - Asia’s principal blue-water classic.
Posted on 28 Jan
Bavaria C57 - Something big has arrived
At the boot 2017 in Düsseldorf, Bavaria Yachts presented the new flagship of their sailing yachts' fleet. At the boot 2017 in Düsseldorf, Bavaria Yachts presented the new flagship of their sailing yachts' fleet. The Bavaria C57 does not only convince with a new modern design but also with many new innovative details.
Posted on 24 Jan