Hey Bill celebrates
He’s survived it all – king tides, erosion, storms and cyclones, but 41 years after selling his first orange from a hessian bag on Noosa beaches, the sun still shines for Noosa’s iconic Hey Bill.
This week, the relaxed and philosophical 59-year-old, still sporting the signature mo and straw hat, celebrated the anniversary with a simple lunch with his workers at a Hastings Street restaurant.
Then it was back to doing the hard yards – working with bikini-clad young women serving thirsty tourists with shaved iced cones and hot drinks. Unless there’s rain, Hey Bill and his quad bike and two connecting trailers are out there 24/7. His sales territory, rich in customers but not in space, extends between Noosa surf club and the river mouth.
As he looks out across Main Beach, Hey Bill recalls his first accommodation in the area he now calls paradise.
“I slept in my car the first few nights, just where Netanya is now.”
He liked the area so much, he decided to stay, but that that meant coming up with a job. “So I started to sell oranges in hessian bags to the people at Ti Tree and Alexandria Bay. There were more people there than Main Beach in those days," he said.
But it was health issues that saw Hey Bill’s business progress to the big red quad bike.
“I was on Shank’s pony and my knees were giving out. The doctor said you can load up a horse, but it will only go so far and then it will fall over.”
Hey Bill also became a founding member of Noosa tourism and few years ago he threw his hat into the ring for a position as a Noosa Shire councillor. However, family illness ended his election bid.
These days he reckons he still has the best job in the world and gives not a thought to retirement.
“It’s a lifestyle thing – what else would you be doing?
“No, there’s nothing like here, this is home.”