Bill Watson of ‘Hey Bill’ fame marked 50 years on Main Beach Noosa in January but the celebrations for 2020 were short-lived.
Bill Watson of ‘Hey Bill’ fame marked 50 years on Main Beach Noosa in January but the celebrations for 2020 were short-lived.

Hey Bill’s back on the beach

HEY Bill reckons he “felt like the Prime Minister” when he returned to work at Noosa Main Beach on Saturday as COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed.

“Everyone was coming up to me and saying ‘welcome back’ and I had so much attention, I felt like the PM,” he said.

Hey Bill has rarely missed a day at the beach in the 50 years he’s been serving up cold drinks and shaved ice to thirsty holiday-makers from the back of his mobile stall.

COVID-19 put a stop to that.

“I’ve had 53 days in quarantine by myself, which was a bit lonely,” Hey Bill said.

“I didn’t think it would be that long … I’ve grown a beard waiting.”

The Noosa icon, who celebrated his 70th birthday earlier this year, said it’s rare for the tourist strip to be so quiet.

“I remember one day on a Christmas Day a few years ago, it was that hot I was the only person on the beach.

“It was about 44 degrees.

“There was me and one seagull … for a Christmas Day it was unheard of.

“You would look up at the buildings you could see the condensation on the windows – everyone was inside with the airconditioning.

“And in the 80s recession, things slowed down for a few weeks.

“Then we had airline strike which was the late 80s or early 90s and another recession.

“But I got through.”

He said the financial burden was eased when Noosa Council waived his lease fees for six months.

Hey Bill hasn’t lost his positive attitude. And nor is he thinking of retirement.

“I have had a lot of time to do a bit of thinking. and we’ll be back bigger than we were before.

“People just love the place and they’re all busting to come back.

“There’s no doom and gloom; they’re all happy.

“This break has given them some peace of mind and they are really enjoying the calm.”

He said cafes and restaurants along Hastings St had also made the most of the time by giving their spaces a bit of a spruce up.

“A lot of places have repainted and renovated while they’ve been shut … and tricking things up and which isn’t really done regularly because they have to work around people.

“They have made the most of the time.”


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