Lower Hunter Freight Corridor - Vale Uncle Bill Smith and Uncle Ronnie Gordon

Published

Transport for NSW is saddened to learn of the passing of Uncle Bill Smith and Uncle Ronnie Gordon.

A railway pioneer and respected community leader, Uncle Bill forged his younger years as a railway worker around the Hunter and New England regions before establishing his own highly successful railway enterprise.  Uncle Bill was an inspirational leader in the Aboriginal community and played a significant role in creating Aboriginal employment opportunities and also establishing Aboriginal community owned and controlled organisations in the Lower Hunter servicing and meeting the needs of a growing Aboriginal community.

Uncle Ronnie played an important role in the establishment and development of Aboriginal community owned and controlled organisations and other land councils and, among other things, through his leadership and long term role as the Chief Executive of the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council worked to ensure that land use planning considered Aboriginal culture and heritage values. Uncle Ronnie’s work and knowledge helped guide Transport for NSW planners in the establishment of a recommended Lower Hunter Freight Corridor Option. 

Both Uncle Ronnie and Uncle Bill provided invaluable inspiration to the broader Transport for NSW planning team who benefited greatly from their knowledge and guidance.

To their families, friends and wider community we extend our sympathies.

As a mark of respect and to allow the community time to grieve, we will postpone the planned Yarns Pari launch on Thursday and extend the consultation period for the Lower Hunter Freight Corridor through until Monday 27 September 2021.