Hawkesbury business owner and entrepreneur Bill McNamara became the recipient of the 2017 Blacktown Corporate Citizen of the Year award recently.
Mr McNamara is a well-known entrepreneur whose career spans more than 60 years in business; most notably in the construction and building industry. He also owns the Del Rio Riverside Resort in the Hawkesbury.
Raised in Riverstone, Mr McNamara was awarded the corporate honour for his work in “shaping” Western Sydney.
“Bill McNamara has shaped Western Sydney and he has consistently given back to the community,” the Mayor of Blacktown City, Councillor Stephen Bali said.
“Not only has he been a businessman, but he has also given time and knowledge to the community and has seen Blacktown change from a small town to a huge city,” Mayor Bali said.
Mr McNamara’s buildings include Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres, the JA Fleming stand at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse and Parramatta Cultural Centre.
One of the original inductees into the Blacktown Hall of Fame, in the early 1970s he created the biggest single development in Blacktown, Westpoint Shopping Centre.
Mr McNamara grew up and played football in Riverstone and, at 29 years of age, was singled out by the then Minister for Local Government (and future Premier) Jack Renshaw in 1957 who said Bill “set an example to all young Australians and had shown what could be done by ability and willingness to take a chance.”
In 1953, the McNamara Group built an office and joinery in Riverstone Parade, Riverstone – one of the first factories to be built in that industrial area. Three years earlier, he married Pat Hynds and they built their then home at 22 Hunter Street, Riverstone.
As the company grew, Bill decided to move his office to a renovated house in Church Street, Parramatta, ultimately being located in his own building, the McNamara Centre.
In 1961, Bill purchased land looking over the Hawkesbury River and this became the Del Rio Resort. Once road access was made available in the early 1970s, Bill was able to establish this business to the success it is today.
Establishing a tourism business in an unknown area back in the 1970s wasn’t an easy task, however it proved to be a great achievement with it being one of the oldest tourism products in the Hawkesbury Region.
Bill will turn 90 this year. He has 26 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren and he continues to work and serve the community.
With all his success in the building industry, Bill has never forgotten his links with Riverstone, often referring to it as the ‘Golden Town of the West’ and is proud to recall his childhood memories there.