W. R. Garrett, Wing Commander
|Type of person||Individual|
|Place of birth||Kew, Victoria, Australia|
|Date of arrival||1942|
|Principal occupation||RAAF Wing Commander (CO)|
|Date of death||1994|
William Raymond Garrett was born at Kew in Victoria. In 1926 he graduated from the RAAF Flying School at Point Cook, and became a commercial air pilot in 1927. He was a member of the Citizen Air Force between 1927 and 1937.
He married Vera Hallidy Lugton in 1934,and had four children.
He served at Mallala as Wing Commander and Commanding Officer of the No 6 SFTS from 23 February 1942 to 20 August 1943. The No. 6 Service Flying Training School (6SFTS) had been formed at Mallala in 1941 and had a lasting impact on the township. A total of 2,257 trainees passed out before the unit ceased to function on 31 December 1945.
The enterprising Wing Commander was able to build a slide projector for teaching aircraft recognition. He built it in the workshop at Mallala with spare bits and pieces. During his posting at Mallala he was awarded the Air Force Cross and was promoted to Group Captain. After the war Garrett went into business, establishing a photographic chemical firm at Doncaster and subsequently becoming chairman of Ilford (Australia) Pty. Ltd. Between 1954 and 1960 he was a Doncaster and Templestowe shire councillor, serving also as its president from 1955 to 1956. In 1958 he was elected to the Legislative Council as the Liberal Country Party member for Southern Province and held the seat until the 1970 redistribution, when he stood for and won the new seat of Templestowe.
Garrett became President in 1968, was knighted in 1973, and retired from the Legislative Council in 1976.
In civilian life he started a photographic chemical business which was absorbed into Ilford Australia Ltd where he became Chairman. He held elected positions in Local Government and the Victorian Parliament. He was knighted in 1973, and when he died in 1994, he was given a State Funeral. His daughters say 'He was a strict disciplinarian but very fair and thought red tape was there to be stretched. He never smoked or drank and I can remember him saying that, as a C.O. of a lot of young lads, he felt if he drank the King’s health in water they could then feel free to do the same.'
Note: In the RAAF service records and family papers he appears as W.R. Garrett, however he is recorded as R.W. Garrett in papers related to his time as President in the Legislative Council.
- Mallala Museum research notes