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Members’ biographical register

William Francis Willesee

Date: 26 December 1911
Place: Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Arrival in WA
Arrived WA circa 1912–1913
Son of William Robert Willesee, drover, cattlebuyer and stock inspector, and Ethel May Flinders, lodging house proprietor, and brother of Donald Robert Willesee (Senator from WA 1950–1975)
Marriage and Family
Married 14 May 1936, St Mary’s Church, Carnarvon to Sadie Catherine Pope (born circa 1915 and died 2 January 2006), telephonist, daughter of William Wallington Pope and Annie Viola James
Children: two sons and two daughters
Date: 18 August 2000
Place: Yokine, Western Australia
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery, WA
Educated Wyndham and Carnarvon Primary Schools to 13 years old, later studied part-time night school at Carnarvon convent
Studied accountancy by correspondence and at Perth Technical College—Dip of Accountancy, Australian Society Accountants and Associate of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries—associate member of both
Employment History
Employed by Goldsbrough Mort 1925–1932
Undertook casual work as available during 1930s including periods as a wool lumper, driver, jetty and road worker
Town Clerk, Carnarvon 1936 (youngest town clerk in Australia at the time)–January 1942

Pay clerk in 1942
Served in Volunteer Defence Corps, 19 Garrison Battalion 18 March–29 October 1942, Corporal 18 March 1942, Sergeant 11 June 1942
Employed in Harbour and Lights Department 1944–1946
Manager T and D Transport Co Plantation 1948–1951
Town Clerk Carnarvon September 1951–1954
After leaving politics worked for Curtain Man as a bookkeeper and accountant
Crosswalk attendant 1978–1985
Joined Australian Labor Party circa 1943
Date Elected
22 May 1954
Inaugural Speech
Inaugural Video
No inaugural video is available as filming did not start until May 2003
Search for speeches by William Willesee
Year Retired/Resigned
North; North-East Metropolitan Province
Parliamentary Service
  • MLC North Province 22 May 1954–21 May 1965; North-East Metropolitan Province 22 May 1965–21 May 1974

  • Opposition Whip in the Legislative Council circa 1959–1962
  • Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council 1962–1966
  • Leader of the Opposition 1 July 1966–March 1971
  • Minister for Community Welfare and Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council 3 March 1971–7 February 1973
  • Member Standing Orders Committee October 1970–1971

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
  • Represented WA branch Commonwealth Parliamentary Association 12th Australasian Area Conference, Melbourne, 1973
Member of Clerks Union after 1945, Australian Workers' Union
Member Italian Club
Honorary auditor WA Epilepsy Association
D Black and G Bolton, eds, Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia: volume two 1930-2010, Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Perth, WA, 2011, p. 279.
Further Information
An interview with Hon. William Francis Willesee

R Scott, Memory, A Town Grows: Carnarvon, Perth: Service Printing Co., 1967.
Sunday Times, 27 August 2000.
West Australian, 21 August 2000.