Development & Alumni Relations Office 

William Alexander Galway BSc (Econ) 1966 (died on 05 May 2016, aged 79)

Obituary provided by William R Darby BSc 1959

We note with great regret the death, on 5 May 2016, of William Alexander Galway in Melbourne, Australia.

Billy, as he was known to his many friends in Northern Ireland, was born in East Belfast in 1937. He was educated at Grosvenor High school and Stranmillis Training College before embarking on a teaching career.

As a teenager at Grosvenor a lifelong interest in art and music developed. He was an accomplished singer and sang the leading role of Frederick in the 1954 school production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance (flute was played at that production by a young James Galway – no relation). His interest in singing continued throughout his adult life, he being for many years a member of the Canberra School of Music Community Choir.

While still teaching he studied part-time at Queen’s University Belfast graduating in economics in 1966 following which he joined the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

In 1974 he was granted leave of absence and left Northern Ireland with his wife Eileen and sons Andrew and Philip to take up a 2-year teaching commission in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG). There a new college had been established to train local administrators as 1975 approached with independence of PNG from Australia. The original 2-year plan extended to 5 years and at completion the family relocated to Canberra where Billy took up a post with the Australian government. For much of the rest of his working life he was involved in matters of Australian trade with Asia and the Pacific region.

After retirement Billy and Eileen remained in Canberra until 2014 when, as their health deteriorated, they moved to Melbourne, to be nearer to their son Philip and family.

Until his health and eyesight deteriorated Billy enjoyed golf and sea-fishing, choral singing and artistic work, both painting and wood carving, and kept up correspondence with old friends in Northern Ireland.

He will be remembered by his many friends for his infectious good humour and optimism in the face of adversity. His presence always brightened an occasion.

Billy is survived by his wife Eileen, sons Andrew and Philip and granddaughters Emilia and Elisa, and by his brother Tom in Ottawa.


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