FAMILY, friends and Camden Haven residents are mourning the loss of Herons Creek's 'unofficial mayor' William 'Bill' Boyd.
The 85-year-old passed away on May 15.
The Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) recipient is celebrated for his dedication to the village, his traditional woodcrafting techniques and work with local community groups.
Mr Boyd was born in 1935, grew up in Herons Creek and left school to become a wood chopper at age 14.
He spent a lifetime in the forest as a sleeper cutter, champion woodcutter, timber cutter for NSW Forestry and was one of the first bullockies at Timbertown.
One of his most notable achievements was cutting 50 sleepers a day over three consecutive days.
Mr Boyd came to the attention of heritage restoration decision-makers during his 27 years as a field officer for the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
He contributed to the restoration of Longworth Tramway, Roto House, Kylie's Hut, a post and rail fence at Vaucluse House, the Snowy Mountain Huts, Tin Mines Huts, a slaughterhouse at Tocal and restoration of Coolamine Homestead in Kosciuszko National Park.
He worked as a chainsaw trainer and started a chainsaw school called ChainSafe. He later became a founding member of the Chainsaw Trainers Association and ran the Northern NSW Chainsaw Racing Association.
He donated his time generously at the Lions Club in Wauchope, Landcare, North Coast Axemans Society, Kendall Heritage Society and Wauchope's heritage theme park, Timbertown. He was awarded life membership to the Camden Haven Show Society in 2018.
Mr Boyd and wife, Betty petitioned for the community against the closure of Miles Drive in 2012 and against restricted access to the Kendall Heritage Wharf in 2013.
Herons Creek chapel pastor Martin Parish said Bill was in many ways the unofficial mayor of Herons Creek.
"Bill was never idle, being not only a member of Kendall Men's Shed, but serving as vice president and president, actively engaged in the restoration of the Big Axe at Kew Information Centre, along with a number of other organisations in our community," Mr Parish said.
"He was in many ways our historian, holding a wealth of knowledge on all subjects related to Herons Creek.
"He was instrumental in the Turpentine Tramway Project that now welcomes anyone who drives through the former village of Herons Creek.
"One of his greatest passions was the recognition of those who left our district to serve during all the wars.
"Another significant landmark that Bill deeply reverence was the chapel at Herons Creek. It was where he was baptised, a place he advocated to stop from closing in the late 1990s and a driving force and foundation member when it was reopened in 2011."
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