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Bill MIllar – Passed Away Sunday 7 June 2020 – Aged 66 years

08 Jun 20
Peter Bull

Bill’s wife, Sue, advised that Bill passed away Sunday 7 June 2020.

Bill had been treated for cancer for the past 2 years and despite some success with some experimental drugs the cancer spread in recent months and he was in a lot of pain in his final weeks according to Sue.

Naturally Sue’s world has been shattered by Bill’s passing but at the time of his death he was surrounded by Sue, Bill’s siblings and his boys (David, Scott and Timothy – Adrian is in Hong Kong and unable to travel).

Sue advised that Bill’s funeral service would probably be later this week or early next week She will advise more after she and the family have met with the funeral directors.

May He Rest In Peace


  1. Peter Bull June 8, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    I first heard the name Bill Millar when I was in training at the Dept of Civil Aviation Training School at Waverton NSW. Bill was a few years ahead of me at DCA and he and his classmates had left the training school one afternoon and driven to the Snowy Mountain snow fields where they had filled up a few eskies with snow before driving back to Sydney in time for the next days’ training. They has a snow fight in John Dryden’s drafting class. Mr Dryden was not impressed and the head of the training school, George Nettle, was called in to address this significant misbehaviour. I have no idea of any repercussions but it was legendary for many years.
    I then met Bill at Paddington ITMC where I worked from December 1975 till 1978 when I was seconded to L.M.Ericsson at Rushcutters Bay NSW. We renewed our working relationship when I returned to Paddington in 1981. He became a mate and a mentor to many of us in the mid-1980s and through into the 1990s.
    By then he had been recognised as being very intelligent and a good leader and was recognised as being a Senior Technical Officer on his way up the ranks.
    Bill was a bit of larrikin and had a weird sense of humour at times but everyone liked and respected him.
    He was the staff representative on the executive council of the Professional Radio Employees Institute of Australia (PREI(A)) where he learned a lot of good negotiation skills and the ‘art of war’ in his dealings with management.
    He acted as Principal Technical Officer when Mick Callaghan was seconded to the Manager of the Training School after which he returned to his position as STO2 in the Network Management Centre (INMC). I was a TO2 in the INMC and Bill was my boss.
    Bill was one of the best bosses for whom I ever worked -both in OTC and Optus. He was a very good leader although he did not always do things the way his managers liked. He did what was best for him and his team – mainly his team.
    Bill was well respected by those who worked for him and even those who felt the sting of his negotiation skills and his tongue when it was warranted.
    Bill was head-hunted to become the Group Leader in charge of the National Networks team of the Optus Network Operations Centre and was a fierce protagonist against Telstra in those early days of Optus where Telstra played dirty tricks but was well respected by those Telstra personnel with whom he had dealings through the Monthly Service Reviews, etc.
    After few years he was promoted to the position of Manager of the Optus Network Operations Centre. A few years later he moved to a senior role within Optus Engineering team where he managed large projects and the teams that worked with vendors to deliver key engineering initiatives for Optus.
    After leaving Optus he joined Hutchison Australia where his significant negotiation skills were recognised and leveraged to deliver significant benefits to Hutchison. He did such a great job at Hutchison Australia that he was offered jobs overseas and then he and I lost contact but every now and then I would hear of Bill and his achievements.

    May He Rest In Peace

    Peter Bull

  2. Peter Bull June 9, 2020 at 11:02 am

    Sad news.

    I was on the PREI Federal Council with Bill and Colin (Ned) Kelly and we worked together on many successful industrial campaigns.

    He always played his own game, though, and looked upon his election to Federal Council as a stepping stone to higher office, whereas Ned and I did our best to represent the techs in industrial matters and didn’t worry about higher office.

    Bob Emanuel

  3. Peter Bull June 9, 2020 at 11:07 am

    This is sad news.

    I seem to remember being a supervisor of Bill back in the early 80s at Paddington ITMC but he quickly moved on and up.

    Most of my work with Bill was when he was managing INMC. To me he had a laid back style, but was always on top of the issues with excellent solutions.I think that is what made him such a good negotiator.

    It always amazed me that computers were so hard to justify, but he was able to get so many IBM lookalikes running DOS to run the INMC Network Management System.

    From my perspective he was an essential part of the team that built the first Network Management System that was so effective in displaying real time telephony traffic.

    May he rest in peace.
    Robin Tuckfield

  4. Peter Bull June 9, 2020 at 11:09 am

    It is with great sadness that I hear of his passing.

    I was “of his generation” in Paddington, and I have fond memories from that time.

    Unfortunately I have not had an opportunity to speak with him for a very long time, and I still picture him as he was back then.

    Please express my condolences to his family.

    Jim Hulme

  5. Peter Bull June 9, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    I was saddened to hear of Bill Millar’s passing.

    I first met Bill at the AKE Training Course at Broadway Training School (along with John Vossen and Brian White).

    The course was run by Dave Stimson and sometimes by Peter Pukk and Bill’s sense of humour, and one-liners, were classic and it certainly kept us going through that 13 week course.

    I also worked later in Optus with him and separately with Sue (who at that stage had just arrived from UK and was yet to be Bill’s wife).

    Steve Hogben

  6. Peter Bull June 9, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Sad news about Bill.

    I have clear memories of Bill in those early years at the NOC at Rosebery.

    I’m grateful for the opportunities he gave me. He always supported his staff. Another OTC technician that went on to successful management roles in private industry.

    He will be remembered at this time by a very large number of people.

    Shaune Walsh

  7. Peter Bull June 9, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks Peter for letting us know the sad news about Bill.
    I remember Bill along with yourself Fred Nichols, Ross Smith and all the crew in the INMC. It was always a great environment to work in, and quite an eye opener for a young tech.
    People such as Bill and yourself were always willing to pass on your knowledge.
    Later I recall he came down to lead the ITMC area for a while and his soft but firm self assured voice along with a touch of frivolity made him a great leader.
    I didn’t get to speak to Bill much after he left OTC to join Optus but I recall the sense of great loss to the company when staff members such as Bill, Ross and yourself all left to take on the challenge of building a greater Optus.

    May he Rest In Peace

    John Bracks

  8. Peter Bull June 9, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    That is really sad.

    Bill was a great boss and a great guy for all the reasons you mention. I hadn’t heard of the snow fight incident but it doesn’t surprise me one little bit. He broke the rules (and earning the ire of Engineering Director Emanuel Elfris) so he could re-hire me when I came back from working OS.

    Another taken way too soon.

    Rob Felscheer

  9. Peter Bull June 9, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Very sad news. My prayers and thoughts are for the family.

    After most of us left AOTC/ TELECOM, I met Bill again when he worked for 3 and Vodafone and in part Bytecan.

    May his soul rest in peace.

    Cheers. Gerry Serrao

  10. Peter Bull June 9, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    Very sad advice of Bill’s passing.

    I remember him well from my time in ITMC and INMC. I lost contact with Bill after he moved to Optus, and I moved to Broadway then IBM

    As you said he was a great boss, mentor and friend.

    We collaborated to provide ANZCAN training in 1986 – he did most of the work, and showed his ability to pass on his great knowledge. He was cool under pressure when things went wrong (which was reasonably regular!).

    My deepest condolences to his family.

    Orm Butler

  11. Peter Bull June 9, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    So sorry to hear that Bill had passed away June 8th. Especially from cancer it is a hard road to travel.

    I/we want to offer our deepest condolences to Sue and his boys.

    I knew Bill from the time he first entered the team at the ITMC in Paddington. We worked together there for a time until we set off to the round trip of Guam, Cairns, Scoresby then back to Paddo.

    During that time OTC was going through the changes of the 1990’s and we were into trying to become “lean and mean” that required a lot of re-structures and customer quality improvements.

    Part of that was the INMC and we always worked together to meet our goals and in that process Bill was for me a real gentleman and in that I truly respect him as an honourable co-worker for OTC.

    John Vossen

  12. Peter Bull June 10, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Such sad news about our good friend Bill.

    I understand from Sue that you are passing the word among the OTC and Optus folks.

    Thanks for supporting them at this dreadful time; for the past 10 years Bill has been my closest friend and words cannot express the feelings

    Kindest Regards,
    Richard Rankin

  13. Peter Bull June 11, 2020 at 7:26 am

    Thanks for the memories Peter,

    Now that you mention it I recall the esky full of snow at DCA.

    I didn’t ever work for Bill that I recall, but he was certainly a recall him as a character that stood out from the crowd.

    Warm Regards
    Graeme Hanigan

  14. Peter Bull June 11, 2020 at 8:09 am

    I first met Bill at OTC Paddington but really only got to know him when I and many other OTC folk moved to Optus and began working in the NOC at Rosebery.

    Bill was Group Leader National Network under Mike Hoffman. Mike eventually moved on and Bill became NOC Manager. I was a Senior Network Engineer on a 24×7 rotating shift. During that time Bill became a mentor to me and many others.

    Bill was a great manager, he really knew how to get the most of out of people. He knew to achieve his goals he would surround himself with the best staff and do his best to look after them. Using this simple philosophy Bill developed the NOC into a well-respected professional unit.

    Bill always knew the best way to do things and what would be best for his staff. He often fended off plans from his bosses to make changes which were not in best interests of his team. He took a stance to look after his team’s interests knowing in the long run that would produce the best outcome.

    A few years later I again worked directly under Bill when we was Manager Integration in Optus Engineering. Bill always built long lasting strong relationships with his staff allowing him to attract staff to move with him as he moved up the ladder in Optus.

    My time working directly for Bill came to an end when, after a team meeting, he placed a job vacancy notice on the desk and asked if anyone was interested in a 3 year secondment to Telecom Vanuatu (part owned by Cable & Wireless who was the then parent company of Optus). I applied for job and Bill facilitated my secondment and got me what was to be the best job of my life. I will always be grateful to Bill for supporting my application especially considering it was not in his own best interests to let me leave Optus.

    Bill and I stayed in touch during my 3 years in Vanuatu. At one stage I was desperate for help to fix a serious earth station clock-skip problem. I’d had trouble sleeping for weeks trying to nut out this tricky problem and Bill offered to get his Integration Specialists to lend a hand. Thankfully the problem was resolved one morning when a patch lead inserted in the wrong place was removed by a local who had been testing a new IDR modem. The fact that Bill was ready to support me again made me value his long-lasting friendship.

    Bill eventually moved on from Optus and ended up working as a Director for Huawei in Malaysia. Once or twice I called upon Bill to be a reference for job applications and he was always obliging.

    I was shocked to hear of Bill’s passing at such a young age.

    Bill Millar changed my life for the better, I wish I’d had a chance to tell him so. Hopefully he is listening to me as I write this story…

    Warmest regards
    Chris Bull

  15. Peter Bull June 11, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    I met him is 1994 when I arrived from the UK. I have seen him in many roles in and out of work since.

    He was always interesting but also the same. Bill cared about others before himself, he would gently mock people, not for his amusement but to remind them however good they thought they were they could be better.

    Bill liked a drink, he was good fun, he was smart, streetwise, sufficiently political, results driven, modest, more selfless than most, helpful, kind, he demonstrated leadership and vision, he set expectations and judged the effort and not just the result. Bill was fair. He would stop to look around in case people needed help, he would suffer fools gladly but not ar$eholes!

    Bill was aware, professional, self-taught, with business acumen that C Levels appreciated, he could have kept working for years as people would value what he offered. He liked Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, he was never boring, he liked to analyse before judging. He wasn’t perfect but he had some qualities that made me want to spend time with him, He met me when he was well, when he became ill he didn’t want to burden me with his problems, I wish he had!

    I hope these words will let his family know, that people did not just love Bill as a Dad, Grandad or Husband but loved him for just being Bill.
    Paul Wilson.

  16. Peter Bull June 12, 2020 at 9:42 am

    I was saddened to hear of Bill’s passing.

    Like with many others he left a lasting impression and fond memories and was a privilege to have worked with Bill in the ITMC Paddington.

    He was intelligent, great mentor ,dry sense of humour which some would say was cynical but always approachable and helpful.

    Last time I saw Bill is while I working in Malaysia around 2014. I was walking back to the office after lunch past some large outdoor plants dividing and eating area. That is when I heard my name being called out by a familiar voice.

    That voice belonged to Bill as he popped out.

    What a welcome surprise. Mind you the last time I had seen him was back at Paddington INMC with a little more hair.

    We spent about 10mins catching up.

    I’m unable to attend his funeral but will remember him with fondness and respect.

    Steve Frendo

  17. Peter Bull June 12, 2020 at 9:43 am

    That is indeed bad news – I was with Bill in KL only a few years ago !

    Count me in please to attend his funeral

    Best Regards
    Tony Kalcina

  18. Peter Bull June 12, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Unfortunately as my wife is not well and I just can’t compromise her by my travelling due to the virus

    Thank you very much for letting me know about the funeral service

    I would have dearly loved to be there (Hawaiian shirt and all :0 ) A celebration of this life is a great expression and something Bill would have wanted ; plus a good wake! I hope many folks are able to attend

    Kindest Regards
    Richard Rankin

  19. Peter Bull June 12, 2020 at 9:50 am

    So sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. He was a great guy to work with.

    Greg Waller

  20. Peter Bull June 12, 2020 at 9:55 am

    That’s very sad news. Bill was well respected in the ranks of the technical staff at OTC. He will be sadly missed.

    The storeman used to think his name was Mr. Millari for some reason.

    Greg Martyn

  21. Peter Bull June 12, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    My condolences to Sue and the family for what I know is a tremendous loss.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Bill and I worked together at Optus for several years.

    When I first met Bill he was the General Manager of the Integration & Maintenance Engineering Teams and later he helped establish and led the IP and ATM Teams.

    I recall him to be a highly skilled professional, an outstanding GM with excellent people skills with a wicked sense of humour (which sometimes took getting used to).

    Those were exciting days at Optus and Bill’s contributions were numerous.

    I lost track of Bill after he left Optus, but always knew that with his skill set he was going to be successful in whatever he did.

    I will always remember Bill and enjoyed our times together.

    He will be missed.

    Steve Christian

  22. Peter Bull June 12, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    What sad news.

    A loss for the good old school Telco engineer – work hard, party hard and ignore management.

    He was certainly one of my better bosses.

    Mark Tipper

  23. Peter Bull June 14, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    So sorry to hear of Bills passing and deepest sympathies to Sue and all the family.

    I started working with Bill at the Optus NOC in Rosebery in 1992. I worked with Bill off and on for the next 20 years at Optus, Hutchison, Ericsson and Vodafone.

    Working with Bill could never have been called dull. He inspired a fierce loyalty in his teams and could always be counted on to stand by you in challenging times. Bill was driven and knew how to drive for results, but importantly he was also fun and possessed a wicked sense of humour.

    I always had the utmost respect for Bill and the way he ran his operations, and personally am grateful to have learnt a great deal from him.

    One of his gems I still use today was advice he gave me when attending work meetings – “its very hard to make a fool of yourself if you just keep your mouth shut”- for me it was a revelation!

    A good friend who could always be relied upon, and a proper lad, rest easy Bill.

    Tim Broadbent

  24. Peter Bull June 14, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Got the news about Bill’s death.

    Loved your obituary.

    I worked with Bill and found him funny on task and when his razor sharp criticism sometimes came my way a bit scary.

    We’ve lost a good’un.

    Ian Atkinson

  25. Peter Bull June 15, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    I first met Bill Millar in the Paddington ITMC where we had many discussion on either side of the IDF while running jumper wires.

    Throughout Bill’s career he always managed to make an impression in some way or another. He had a wicked sense of humour and an astute understanding of complex problems and situations. He honed his negotiation skills in the PREI(A) which served him well throughout his career. It was very sad to hear of his passing far too early.

    I have fond memories of working with Bill in the ITMC, INMC, AOM and Optus where he excelled in his team building and management skills. Bill was the driving force behind the first Network Traffic Management System in OTC and involved everyone in the development and its subsequent success. Bill will be missed by many and I enjoyed working with him and our social outings where he introduced me to the appreciation of a good coffee and the joys of fine red wine.

    You will always be remembered Bill by your many friends and work colleagues.

    Ross Smith

  26. Peter Bull June 15, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend as I have a family birthday function on Tuesday.

    A lot of memories of Bill have come back from those early days at Rosebery and it would have been nice to share them with the other Optus guys.

    I remember we were the same age and makes you think. What a shame his life has been cut short.

    Shaune Walsh

  27. Peter Bull June 16, 2020 at 11:10 pm

    I am very sorry to hear of the death of Bill Millar.

    He was a very good boss in Optus and a great and well respected member of staff in both OTC and Optus.

    I will not be able to attend the funeral service due to my recent surgery and hospitalization but wish to send my apologies.

    Please give my regards to Sue.

    Best wishes
    Keith McCredden

  28. Peter Bull July 18, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    Bill Millar a good friend.

    I first met Bill Millar at Optus in 1994. From our first meeting Bill impressed me with his technical and operational knowledge, his commitment to providing good service to Optus customers and to getting whatever needed attention fixed immediately. Bill was a very effective and successful manager.

    After I left Opus we stayed in touch. And in 2004 we worked together again at 3GIS (a Telstra/Hutchison JV). It was a challenging task to get the JV up and running and Bill worked hard to make it a success. I really appreciated his knowledge, skills and commitment.

    At Optus and 3GIS I found Bill to be extremely knowledgeable, capable and focused on getting the job done. I especially liked the smiles and shrugs he would display if what he said ended up wrong (not often), and likewise the same smiles and shrugs when he was proven right. But of course the smiles were bigger when he was right! He also had the habit of doing the smiles and shrugs thing plus a roll of the eyes before he walked away and left me with the problem. Over many years I got to know him well and would occasionally have a quiet chuckle when he left me to sort the problem myself!

    In more recent times we stayed in touch. We caught up for a coffee or just a telephone call or email. Bill was a good friend, I am deeply saddened by his death and will miss him.

    To Sue and the Millar family. I am so sorry for your loss. It was clear to me that Bill loved you all very much. Bless you all.

    To Bill, when standing at the Pearly Gates of Heaven just do the usual, smile, shrug the shoulders and step through. That’s all that’s left for you to do. RIP Bill Millar.

    Bob Dulhunty 18 July 2020

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