The Sportsman Weekend
Fond farewell to a racing legend
A HUGE crowd, from both the harness and thoroughbred racing codes, joined relatives and friends yesterday to celebrate the life of legendary racing journalist Bill Whittaker-OAM.
Bill died, aged 79 years, last Friday after a short battle with cancer and his funeral service yesterday was conducted at St Kevin’s Catholic Church, Eastwood by Monsignor John Lyne.
Bill and Father Lyne met several years ago through their shared passion of both the thoroughbred and standard horse
became firm friends, often travelling to race meetings together.
Born in Malanda, on the Atherton Tablelands in North Queensland, Bill enjoyed and outstanding career as a trotting and racing writer for 60 years.
He began in 1948 as a copy boy at the old Sydney Sun then moved on the the Newsletter, Trotguide and Trotting Recorder before joining The Daily Telegraph in 1954 where he worked for five years.
In 1959, he transferred to The Sydney Morning Herald and remained there until his semiretirement in 1989, the last six years as racing editor.
From, that time until shortly before his death he continued to write on both trotting and galloping, contributing several publications.
A keen Sportsman reader and form student, Bill was a walking encyclopedia when it came to race history in both codes.
A Multi-award winning journalist Bill was named a Living Legend by HRNSW in 1999.
In 2004 he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his services to thorough bred racing and in 2007 he received the Chairman’s Medal in Sydney acknowledging his enormous contribution to the Hall Of Fame.
Bill is survived by this wife of 49 years, Alice, three children Maree, Mark and David and eight grandchildren, also his sisters Eileen Kit.