Bill Burton was born in Glasgow in 1952 and brought up by his grandparents until 1964 when his parents took the family to Tasmania. At 14 he ran away and for many years worked as a jackaroo, seaman and especially as a roadie.
He settled into a Bowman Street squat in 1972. There he developed his musical talents in bands such as Beer+Vomit+Regurgitation, and relished “a life of free sex and mung beans”. As he acquired responsibilities he moved into Ways Terrace, joined a book club, learned to read, and became a highly skilled map curator in the State Library.
He was hyperactive among the residents who created Interim Park in the 1990s, and – since he retired from the State Library – has become a stalwart of Pyrmont Cares, an adviser to many young rock musicians, and an exemplary neighbour and citizen. The arc of Bill’s career, from rebellion and squats to responsibility and Ways Terrace, may be unique in Pyrmont. He reckons that 80% of his colleagues are now dead, and most of the others live in the affluent Eastern suburbs.