ANZ Retired Officers' Club (VIC)


Tom Williams R.I.P.

We were very sad to hear that Tom Williams has passed away in the UK aged 94 . Tom was a very well liked and respected ANZ Banker as can be evidenced by the many tributes we have received from his ex- colleagues. Our condolences are extended to Mary and the family.



From Mike 'Pancho' Kinsella


Thanks Eamon for broadcasting this sad news. Perhaps I could provide some input in respect of Tom`s time in  New Zealand.
"After joining the bank in Australia he was transferred to New Zealand after WW2 as a young fellow and quickly worked his way through the system and attained branch manager status. Before returning to Australia he spent a term on secondment to the NZ Bankers` Association in the role of Secretary. He came back to Wellington in 1974 to establish the Corporate Banking Unit which included responsibility for the International Banking function.  New York called in 1976. I will remember Tom  as a wise and professional banker ready to impart some good advice with, when appropriate, the aid of a good kicking foot . Socially, I will always recall his penchant for finding a "grotty old pub" especially on St Patrick`s day which just happened to be his birthday.


Tom and the late John Holberton were born in the same year - 1923 and they both retired from the bank in 1983."
From Dick Milnthorpe
I went to Toms retirement do in Melbourne. In his farewell speech he said that all his career he had wanted to manage the branch furthest from Melbourne AHQ and he was pleased that in his last appointment he had succeeded !
From Warren Taylor
Tom was born in South Australia and Joined the bank at King Island. After  WW2 he volunteered to go to New Zealand who were short on male staff.
He married Mary in New Zealand and all their children were born in New Zealand.
I first met Tom in London in 1969 after the completion of a shipboard agency on the SS Canberra, and was directed to stay in London for two weeks under the control of Ken Wilks observing the operations of their International Department.
Tom was in London on the standard twelve month stint - AHQ would send a lending banker to London to assist with presentations to the Board on  Australian and New Zealand companies and those that undertook these assignments went alone without one's family.
It was Ken Wilks who gave me the name of Hastings (Warren Hastings Viceroy of India) and Tom always addressed me by the name until some years later in New York
After the completion of his assignment in London Tom was appointed Manager of 377 George Street Sydney branch one of the top six branches in New South Wales. I was in International Division Sydney at that time and he would often call me to come over to his branch to sit in on interviews with his importing customers.
When Regional banking was introduced he was appointed Regional Manager South Coast. Once again Tom when visiting Wollongong he would demand my presence to assist him in discussions with some of the largest companies involved in steel/metal manufacturing  which would upset my boss for Tom would never ring him to request my presence. Tell them to get stuffed was his simple response to my question of have you cleared it with my boss.
Tom's next appointment was Chief Manager Corporate New Zealand, effectively number two in New Zealand.
Then he was appointed Chief Agent New York arriving around about March 1976. In early January 1976 after my return from home leave there was a directive from Melbourne  to cease my Assistant Representative role and concentrate on the establishment of New York Agency due to my active involvement since 1974 in that project (Rod McLeod and I had made a submission to AHQ in 1974) and Brian Christensen (RIP)was to assume all Representative functions.
Two days after his arrival in the office Tom called me in stating  "you are the operational expert in this office, any operational matters requiring a decision are yours, just get on with it and don't stuff it" Two days later went into his office raising an operational matter and that's when I encountered the two finger response (Tom always spoke pointing one finger but when  displeased one would get the two fingers pointing at you - hell I am in trouble. His response to my question was brutal " Are you hard of hearing, that's a bloody operational matter and your decision, don't waste my time". Responded with "just checking Tom to make sure I heard you correctly, thanks for the trust I won't fail you".
He also reminded me of Mac Brunkhorst's directive of - "set up the most effective and efficient banking operation possible, adopt worlds best practice, get the computer to do everything and forget how  we do it in Australia."
Tom placed total trust in Dick Milnthorpe, Mike Tong and myself and never interfered.
Tom was the toughest and most demanding man I ever worked for but the fairest and most considerate man. He was a great leader and a master banker.
One day shortly after opening New York Agency I was dashing around the office dealing with numerous problems  when Tom dropped into my office ; shortly thereafter he came back looking for me saying he was just there three seconds ago, yelling to Mary Molloy find the Flash. And from that day thereafter he always addressed me as "Flash"
Tom and I were involved with the establishment of Los Angeles Agency - necessary due to my misreading of New York Laws (the 108 rule) which didn't apply under California Law.
After New York Tom was appointed Chief Manager International London (effectively number 3 in London) but after the survey (Ashton Taylor Winders) Tom was appointed General Manager UK and Europe.
Then I again  worked for Tom when I was sent back to London  (January 1981) to implement the changes recommended under the survey (Ashton Taylor Winders survey of 1980). Again he gave me total backing to get on with the job.

From Denis Petitt

Just chuckling at Warren's description of life in the NY office. I was shipped to NY as a young sprog and found Tom to be the toughest, most straight forward honest boss I had ever met. I recall a bash at his house on Bonnie Briar Lane in Larchmont, darn sure he got grass stains on his whites. Blessed to have met him and condolences to Mary,and thank you for the many kindnesses!


From Alister Maitland
Tom was in New York for my first visit there. He was a good mate of Bill Brown who died over 10 years ago. We see Bills wife Nola and keep in touch. Tom was a great banker and as straight as a dye. No nonsense banker and a lot of fun when off duty.
From David Morgan
Sad News.
Although he has departed, respect and admiration for him will be ongoing.
Tom was a tremendous person to work for. "Very Hard but Fair "accurately portrays his work philosophy but  only tells part of the story.  Along with numerous others, I owe an ongoing debt of gratitude to Tom for his advice, wisdom, encouragement and friendship.
He was a wonderful mentor to all those fortunate enough to be within his orbit.
That orbit certainly didn't include Head Office! I recall one evening at a dinner in Melbourne being told by Tom how disappointed  he was to find out I was working in AHQ.
Had Tom been prepared to embrace Head Office I believe it would have been a "Win Win" for all.
My thoughts and prayers  for Mary and Family.
From Mike Elliott
Tom was my boss when I worked in NYK and he was a great guy.
From Bruce Plaice-Leary
Hi Eamon
We have all worked for Tom and enjoyed it. When Tom ran the UK, we received a branch memorandum from HQ asking for the London art collection be sent out to Melbourne. Rick Wheeler-Bennett had amassed a very special collection of Australian art, including a very unusual Nolan. We of course complied, and as I was then in charge of Premises as well, it fell to my lot to do the job; Tom having wagged his finger. We found all the items on the list provided except one “Gums” and they were duly dispatched to Melbourne who then demanded that we find “Gums”. Well we did find a “Gums” in the staff room donated by the Melbourne Staff to London Staff. When we told Melbourne they were begrudgingly satisfied, but Tom was not happy at all, with various comments as only Tom could make about losing paintings etc., but at least we got Melbourne off his back. Six months later I visited Guernsey and went to Peter Marshal’s bank house. Above the mantel piece in the lounge was magnificent picture of gum trees. I asked Peter where it had come from, “Oh” said Peter “when Tom was here last he thought the wall was a bit bare, so he sent this out” the Title of the painting – “Gums”. When I told Tom he just said “don’t’ stir the pot”, or words to that effect! As far as I am aware the painting is still there. Tom was a great guy to work for very fair, but demanding and very good at his job. There are other stories, including Bob Medhurst’s American golf clubs, but another time perhaps.
From Pat Devine
Eamon, Thanks. I met Tom a few times and he was a standup guy
From Gary Mason 
Tom would be well known to many of our Victorian members. A great guy to work for and with his international and technical expertise was top class.
From Eamon Veaney
Tom was the boss when the ANZ New York Agency was established in 1976 and went on to run London when it was being downsized by Roy Ashton, Warren Taylor and John Winders in the early 80's. He was a tremendous guy, very hard but fair. At his farewell in Melbourne I seem to recall he was proud of the fact that he was never posted to a Senior position in Melbourne. 
I last saw Tom in London many years ago in Simpson's Cornhill where he was having a drink with some friends from the 'wpnc' club. He continued to live in Surrey after his retirement from the Bank in 1983. Condolences to Mary and family.