Shire of Pingelly president Bill Mulroney is taking a well-deserved retirement after almost 40 years of service to local government. The Queenslander’s path to leadership began when he relocated to his wife Lorraine’s hometown of Pingelly in 1984. On arrival, Cr Mulroney took odd jobs, trying his hand at everything from bricklaying to delivery driving, including taking on the role of scout leader and working on Lorraine’s brother-in-law Ian Williams’s mushroom farm. His local government journey began one Saturday while working at the local service station when Shire CEO Peter Webster walked in and offered him a job as a loader operator. Having already been offered a position at the Department of Conservation and Land Management earlier that day, Cr Mulroney couldn’t believe his luck. “I thought ‘Here I am, I walk into town unknown and get two jobs thrown at me on the same day’,” the 83-year-old said. Cr Mulroney chose the Shire to be closer to home and family, quickly risng through the ranks to become the town’s grader operator only to lose the position in 1988 amid internal politics. Despite being thrust into a challenging time, he said he “stuck it out” thanks to the support he had at home and his role as president of the tulip festival. “During the festival, I’d walk down the street and feel like I was walking on a cloud,” he said. “It was fabulous, there was beautiful art, thousands of tulips. “When you stood at the end of the street, you’d see the Hotham Valley train come up and nearly 1000 come off. “It lifts your spirit, that’s the result of being part of a team.” Cr Mulroney was soon offered a new role on the Shire maintenance team, where he excelled with the Shire president one day telling him “you’re doing a damn good job”. “I said ‘I don’t live in a s...house and I don’t work in one — it’s as simple as that’,” he said. “I have pride in what I do and I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved.” After many years of physical labour, a shoulder injury saw Cr Mulroney take on the job of technical advisor to the CEO though the role soon changed with the arrival of a new CEO. “I was told one afternoon that I’d be starting in senior finance the next day and I had three weeks to learn the job,” he said. “It was all strange to me, figures and writing cheques so I muddled my way through that.” In 2004, another CEO was appointed and told Cr Mulroney – who had just turned 65 – that he could retire. Despite initially wanting to stay on, he decided to take a stand instead and quit. “Something inside me said ‘Bill, you don’t have to put up with this’,” he said. “I went back and told them I was going to pull the pin and I did.” The following year, Cr Mulroney would return to the Shire as a councillor. “Lorraine and I were sitting at the table one day and I said ‘I think I’m going to stand for council, I feel like I could do something for this community’,” he said. “So I did stand and in 2005 I was elected.” Having experienced all levels of government over his storied 20-year career, Cr Mulroney was an asset to the council, becoming deputy president after six years. In 2017, he was elected president, a position he will maintain until his retirement in three weeks’ time. Despite being told in 2019 that he was “too bloody old to be president”, the 83-year-old remains confident. “… I said ‘no I’m not, I’ve got a lot of foresight for this town, I’ve got the steam to go forward and I can lead this council to do a lot of things’ — and I have,” he said.