UQ Business School graduate locates 'missing' soldiers

15 Jul 2009
After completing his Commerce degree 62 years ago, Bill Park has just earned another UQ degree for research showing some WWII honour rolls are incomplete. Now 89, Mr Park's research identified errors in the Australian Government's internet-based Nominal Roll and the University of Queensland's Honour Roll. The project started when Mr Park found some university students he served with in the war weren't listed on the Nominal Roll, and wondered what had happened to other university students if the people he knew personally weren't listed. "I checked for the general public, and found there was quite a problem," he said. "There are some 15,000 soldiers in Queensland whose service isn't on the nominal roll, and this is probably repeated across other states." Mr Park's next move is to publish the book he has written about the 90 university student soldiers who started his quest for a correct memorial for servicemen and women. He also plans to present his findings to the Federal Government as evidence for the need to correct the Nominal Roll. "Those university students played a big part in developing Queensland after the war. It's part of a plan to honour what we say we will do, lest we forget. That's what we promise every year, but how can we remember them when we can't find them?" he said. "The records should be correct and right. The Master of Philosophy has given credibility to my research, and hopefully the Government will take notice and correct the roll." Mr Park's research was supervised by John Cokley from UQ's School of Journalism and Communication, and compared the Nominal Roll published by the Australian government and honour rolls maintained by institutions like The University of Queensland with war memorialisation performed annually by newspapers. His earlier studies were interrupted by the World War II and he completed his Bachelor of Commerce on his return from almost five years' war service, which he said 'wasn't easy'. After gaining his Commerce degree, Mr Park became an accountant with QLD Trustees Ltd in Townsville, before working his way up to assistant manager and then general manager. In 1970, he took up a position as group manager with Perpetual Trustees Australia Ltd, based in Sydney. He then returned to Brisbane to become a partner in stockbroking firm Corser Henderson & Park. Ever the hard worker, Mr Park became senior partner in the firm Henderson Park Earnshaw & Petfield in 1983, remaining in the position until 1986. He then took up a consultant role for Henderson Charlton Ltd. Even while busy working, Mr Park found the time to be involved with the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce and the Brisbane Stock Exchange, and also took up company directorships. In 1967 he became president of the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce, remaining in the role until 1969. His involvement in the Brisbane Stock Exchange began when he became a member in 1971. The following year he became a committee member, and later became the chairman. He was a director of the Bank of Queensland Group from 1986 to 1992, and the Security Permanent Building Society Brisbane from 1987 until 1992. Having joined the Institute of Directors Australia in 1963, Mr Park again worked his way to the top, becoming a federal vice-president from 1979 to 1986. Aside from his accounting work, Mr Park was a director of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust from 1976, later becoming the deputy national chairman, national chairman, and finally the national president in 1995. He also served as director of the Geriatric Medical Foundation Queensland, from 1986 until 1992, and was deputy chairman of the foundation from 1988 until 1992. Mr Park was also involved with the Salvation Army and the Australian Red Cross. Mr Park was also a member of the University of Queensland Board of Faculty and Commerce from 1972 to 1976, The Kelvin Grove College of Advanced Education Council from 1973 until 1975, and The Australian National University from 1977 to 1990. He was awarded a CBE for service to business in 1981 and an AM for service to the community, finance and education in 1990.