Shannons are mourning the loss of one of the longest serving members of their team - master auctioneer, Bill Wellwood.
Bill was the well-known front man of Shannons Auctions and for more than 25 years he brought down the gavel on some of Australia's most desirable and most sought-after classic vehicles and motoring memorabilia. Bill passed away early in the hours of Monday 5th July after a brave struggle with cancer.
"Bill Wellwood was a larger than life character who touched so many lives," said Shannons National Auction Manager, Christophe Boribon. "The fun, banter and excitement he brought to every auction were legendary."
Bill could sell rafters to pigeons, but his real passions were his family, the classic car movement and his beloved Geelong 'Cats'.
Born in Mansfield, Victoria and trained as a motor mechanic, Bill became an auctioneer by accident when he stood-in for the role at a fund-raising night for his local cricket club.
He acquired his trademark striped coat, top hat and bow tie from an op-shop early in his career to overcome pre-auction nerves and methodically went 'into character' for each sale, transforming from a quiet, and almost reserved person into a gregarious prancing gnome.
Like everyone at Shannons, he was a car enthusiast. At one stage he was a member of no fewer than seven different car clubs, was the Patron of the Vintage Drivers' Club and like most enthusiasts, had something special in his garage.
His pride and joy for many years was a 1950 front wheel drive Citroen Big Six, one of only three believed to remain in Victoria. Bill proudly told how his Citroen raced at Bathurst in 1950, winning its race by three laps!
During his quarter century with Shannons, Bill recently estimated he knocked down more than 6,000 vehicles at around 3,700 vehicle and charity auctions.
There were many fascinating moments during his career, during which he sold everything from horse-drawn carts and home-made ultra-light aircraft to famous racing cars raced by Sir Jack Brabham. However the figure he was most proud of was the millions of dollars his energetic auctioneering helped raise for charities over the years.
Bill will be sorely missed by all.
"A Service celebrating Bill's life will be held at Shannons 321 Warrigal Road, Cheltenham on Sunday 11th July 2010 commencing at 1.30pm.
No Flowers by request - in lieu donations may be made to Tattersall's Palliative Care. Envelopes will be available at the service."