Bill Hayes was born and raised on a cattle and sheep farm in Central Victoria that had been in his family since the 1850s. Whilst farming has been the focus of his life, it also provided him with opportunities to travel and see more of the world than most 81-year-olds.
Travelling the world
Bill joined the Victorian Breeders Committee after starting a Charolais beef cattle stud on his property in 1973. He was voted President of the Breed Society for three years, which involved overseas travel as a delegate to four World Congress events in the 1980s. ‘These were in Canada, England, Hungary and France. I was also invited to judge at the English Royal in 1987 and again in 1989 as Associate judge of 250 junior heifer,’ Bill says, with his selection of Junior Champion going on to win Grand Champion Female of the Congress Show.
‘The travel was something I'd never expected. I enjoyed it. I met a lot of great people I'd have never met otherwise. The country that I really enjoyed was Hungary. I was there for two and a half weeks and I joined an English group, and we did a tour around farming land in Hungary. Some of the most beautiful country I ever saw was on the Danube River. ‘I couldn’t believe the age of the buildings over there. We were looking at one place and the bus driver said, “That’s about 700 years old”. We just sat there in amazement. It was magnificent.’
Seeing the sights
Bill’s involvement in the breeding community also led to a three-week, all-expenses paid trip to France. ‘Each weekend they took us back into Paris and one Saturday evening they took us up to the restaurant on the Eiffel Tower and we had dinner. Looking out at Paris at night, it was fantastic.’
Bill’s focus on his sheep and cattle saw him give up tennis and he never married but he loved being a farmer, only selling up three years ago. ‘If you don’t like work, life is hard.’
Reviewed 19 July 2022