WJ & TJ Gread – The Sand King

By on February 15, 2023

WENDY BURNESS and LISA ROHDE (daughters) reflect on their family business and the life of The Sand King.

Bill Gread of Numurkah was a man who had a long association with CMPA and was a founding member. Sadly, Bill passed away in August 2021 after a short illness.

Bill made many long lasting friendships and connections through the CMPA and always believed that you needed to join together with others in the industry to have a stronger voice and be able to have effective representation.

Bill was a unique character whose association with the gravel and sand game started with humble beginnings which spanned over 69 years.

His own story began as a 14 year old who left school to work with his father Jock in his contracting business which had started with a team of horses working on the irrigation channels throughout the Murray Valley and then moving into contracting with the improvements in technology.

After Bill married Thelma they started their own contracting business in 1964, Bill and Thelma were a formidable team . From there they built a strong local business with much of their work originally coming from the settlement in the Invergordon and Katandra area.

Over the years Bill and Thelma grew their business and acquired several trucks and their own sand pits. They bought up several properties that Bill knew sand was located on, as a young boy Bill remembered where every seam of sand was located throughout the Murray Valley from watching his father build the irrigation channels.

Bill was also a local Numurkah Shire councillor for many years and then went onto to be a Moria Shire councillor for several years after amalgamation of the Shires . He was well known for his strong commitment to the community and always fought for “a fair go for all.”

Whilst Bill had diversified from the gravel game in recent years to growing lucerne on his farming properties at Katunga, he and Thelma still retained their sand pits. Bill was still at his happiest on his Caterpillar dozer pushing sand up and making something out of nothing. Bill was the first in the local district to modernise the channels on his farming properties and these became a show piece to demonstrate what could be done. Because of Bill’s earthmoving experience and owning a pit of white rock used to line the channels, he was able to undertake a significant amount of the work himself to build water efficient channels.

Quarry at 100 Morgan Mills Rd, Bearii
Loading truck for dispatch to Katandra
120A Kull Road, Katandra

Bill was a “one of a kind” character, he had an amazing mind, great work ethic, was very generous and never forget where he started. A man of strong values and integrity and he has left his mark on those that have met him and has left his family with lots of great stories and memories of “The Sand King.”

Just a few months before he passed he finished digging a large dam on one of his farms, he was still at his best on the dozer and it was quite amazing to see what he could still do.

The front cover picture shows Bill on his dozer on his farm and as his family said, “this is him riding off into the sunset.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Ads