Dr Bill Williams Tjungurrayi Scholarships

The College has launched the Dr Bill Williams Tjungurrayi Scholarships fund at a well-supported function in the Senior School Dining Hall on Saturday 26 May. Dr Bill Williams completed Year 12 at The Geelong College in 1975, when he was school Vice-Captain and a member of the Cricket 1st XI and Football 1st XVIII. He then trained as a doctor and became a general practitioner, as his father and grandfather had been before him. 

Always a man of principle and conviction, Bill became a social activist, particularly involved in the campaign against nuclear weapons. He was also involved in environmental and feminist issues. Some years ago, Bill lived with his family for an extended period at Kintore, an Indigenous community in the Northern Territory, west of Alice Springs, close to the Western Australian border. He wrote a novel inspired by his experiences there, and returned regularly to continue his medical work with Indigenous people. He was due to return there a few weeks after his untimely death in September 2016. He was a staunch advocate for Indigenous people for much of his life. 

The Dr Bill Williams Tjungurrayi Scholarships have been established to support Indigenous students attending The Geelong College. The scholarships are to be supported by an endowment fund, to exist in perpetuity. Donations to scholarship funds of this kind are tax-deductible, thereby increasing the appeal to prospective donors. 

This scholarship program recognises Bill Williams by: 

  • Providing a permanent memorial to Bill Williams;
  • Honouring his skin name, Tjungurrayi, given to him by his Kintore family;
  • Supporting Indigenous students, reflecting Bill’s own commitment and passion, and continuing his work in actively addressing Indigenous disadvantage; and,
  • Supporting the education of Indigenous students by investing in their, and our, future.

It was fitting that this new scholarship fund was launched in National Reconciliation Week, when we focused our attention on reconciliation. 

The launch was attended by members of Bill's family, his school friends and others from the College community, staff and current student Lesley Phillips. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which Bill co-founded, was also represented on Saturday by Bill's friend and ICAN co-founder Dave Sweeney. Also featured in the photos above are Bill's widow Gisela, holding the Nobel Peace Prize ICAN won in 2017, their daughter Daisy and his brother Tim.

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