Bill Mills Park honours Bill Mills, the last Mulgrave Shire Town Clerk and the first CEO of Cairns Regional Council. He was my father’s right-hand man for many years while Dad (Tom Pyne) was Mayor. However, Bill had an impressive career in his own right.
Bill grew up in a large family who had a strong involvement with local government. His grandfather was the first Town Clerk at Longreach and his father was the Chairman of the Belyando Shire Council. He received the Public Service Medal for his work. Bill also played an important role in the creation of the suburb of Mount Sheridan and how it was planned.
While I was a Councillor, I was determined to have a park named in his honour. Fittingly, there was an unnamed park right smack bang in the middle of the suburb of Mount Sheridan. My motion went to a Council meeting and it was resolved that the park from then on be known as Bill Mills Park.
At street level the park offered very little at the time I was elected. My focus was on making this green space the great community asset that I knew it could become. The hardest part was getting Sports and Recreation Department and the Works and Services Department, to accept that this was a genuine park and not simply a ‘drainage reserve’. Once this was done, I worked away on improvements.
The first achievement was getting the park marked up for as football fields. It soon became popular with the local Hmong community, as well as other immigrant and refugee teams. They all loved football (soccer). On any given Saturday you can see Hmongs playing Sikhs, or Africans playing Bhutanese. It was truly heart-warming to see.
Then we needed to have a toilet and somewhere to store some of the sporting equipment. I identified a vacant block next door to the park. We then went through the approval process and built our toilets and storage facilities.
Before long the neighbours were complaining about parking issues, so we had to get a car park put in as well. That took a while but improved the situation immensely.
An unexpected addition to the park came with people wanting to watch the sport. We secured some fill from the Gordonvale depot and before I knew it, it was covered in grass. After that a new shade sail was put over the children’s play equipment, and I remember thinking, ‘My work here is done!’
Cr. Rob Pyne (Disabled former MP, and Local Government Councillor).