Bill Frost – A ‘Wonder of Westbury’

William Frost in the yardWilliam Frost inset

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JANUARY 2016 | Joanne Eisemann

TRAVELLING OUT of Westbury towards the Bass Highway, you may have noticed pieces of antique furniture sitting in front of a paling fence. That would be Bill Frost’s place.

Collecting for 25 years, Bill says, “It’s all about recycling… I never throw anything out.”

“I bought the house in 1964, I’ve lived in Westbury all me life, I’m 73”, shares Bill, adding, “we’d been going together for about 4 years and we thought we’d better save up for a house. I said to the missus how much have you got in the bank? She said two hundred quid, and I had a hundred, I had a pretty good job as a shearer and we rolled that over into cattle and sheep that we ran in the back blocks of Westbury. In two years we paid cash for the place.”

Bill started his collection when he contracted chronic fatigue syndrome.

“I couldn’t shear anymore so started collecting…the only day I didn’t wag school was woodwork day. I used to love woodwork, so when I come right, I thought ‘I wont go back to work now, my back‘ll only get hurt some more; I’ll just go in for restoring a bit of furniture’ and that’s where it all started and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

“There is something here for everybody”, says Bill of his eclectic mix, “even these rusty beds, some people like to put them in their garden or make gates out of them.”

Everything from wooden wheelbarrows, red telephone boxes and wagon wheels to old farming equipment, furniture and even a level crossing signal adorns the landscape Bill calls home.

Over the years community attitudes have changed towards Bill’s collection.

“At one stage a chap told me they were going to try and kick me out or stop me doing this; in the end the judge gave me a special dealers licence. Another time they sent me some letters, ‘you are having too many garage sales’, so I goes round to the council, pulled the license out and say ‘well, you read that mate’, so they read it and said, ‘oh yeah you’ll be right then.’”

These days Bill receives accolades from the locals.

In 2012 as part of ‘Westbury Week’, he was named a “Wonder of Westbury” and received a certificate saying as much.

Again, in 2014, the Sustainable Community Awards recognised him as ‘A community collectable icon with his unique varied collection, community ‘do drop in’ & unofficial visitor tour guide.’

  Mike Moores