Bill’s dream to carry on

Visionary Bill's dream continues on

Business features
Soaring above: Bill McGuinness's courage, determination and strong sense of self-belief helped see Stocklick Trading evolve into the highly successful, well-respected company it is today.

Soaring above: Bill McGuinness's courage, determination and strong sense of self-belief helped see Stocklick Trading evolve into the highly successful, well-respected company it is today.


When highly regarded and respected northern livestock industry identity and Stocklick Trading founder and managing director Bill McGuinness passed away on October 7, 2017, he'd already realised many of his dreams through sheer courage, determination, and self-belief.


Vale: Bill McGuinness, August 31, 1966 - October 7, 2017.

After a long battle with illness, founder and managing director of leading Australian stock feed and supplement company Stocklick Trading, Bill McGuinness, passed away on October 7 this year.

Bill’s passion for the livestock industry led him to establishing the business at Mt Garnet in 2000 on the outskirts of the Atherton Tableland.

His courage, determination and strong sense of self-belief helped see Stocklick Trading evolve into the highly successful, well-respected company it is today.

Bill was born in St George, Queensland on August 31, 1966. His father Ken was an opal miner at Lightning Ridge for a time and after striking some fortune with a good opal find he had enough money to buy two butcher shops in Walgett, where Bill did most of his schooling.

In a previous interview with the North Queensland Register, Bill’s admitted he wasn’t a great student.

“I failed Grade 10 then we moved to Atherton and I failed it again - mum and dad were disgusted,” he recalled at the time.

This early setback would provide the kernel for Bill’s future drive and success, as he soon after began working at Elders Pastoral Atherton, first as a storeman before being promoted to salesman.

After four years with Elders he joined Primac, Atherton, and worked in the horticulture and cropping division there for 14 years before finding his true calling in animal nutrition.

During his time in animal nutrition Bill developed several ideas on how the company could broaden their product range into molasses-based products and loose-licks, but his ideas weren’t brought to fruition.

He also wanted Primac to buy a plane so that they could service a greater area and crack the molasses market but he was again denied.

By this stage Bill had made up his mind to form a company and develop his ideas into reality.

He decided to invest $200,000 - at that point his entire life savings - in the new venture, but it would require more capital than he had so he approached Tobacco Growers Trading (TGT) in Mareeba for financial backing.

Armed with little more than a strong belief that the project would work, Bill addressed the TGT board and presented them with his plans and costings.

The board saw promise in the scheme and agreed to finance 40 per cent of the $800,000 initial cost.

With the backing of TGT, his savings and some financial assistance from his mother, Julean, Stocklick Trading was formed.

Bill chose Mt Garnet as the location for the business as almost all stockfeeds were coming out of Townsville and he thought he’d have an edge on his competitors in the Gulf and Peninsula areas as far as freight was concerned.

His original costings were based on producing 4000 tonnes per year, which he exceeded in the first year and business skyrocketed from there.

The Mt Garnet factory made Stocklick Trading a household name in the cattle industry, and in four years demand grew to a point where Bill made the decision to build another plant in Charters Towers.

The Roma plant was later built to focus on producing grain rations to supply the fattening operations in South East Queensland.

Bills guiding philosophy when building the business was to always stay ahead of the pack in relation to industry innovations and to provide quality advice on an individual basis for producers so tailored nutritional solutions could be provided. These core principles still hold true today.

Bill’s passion and commitment to the business his staff and his loyal client base is mirrored in the way his “family” reflect on the kind of man Bill was.

HR, IT and Projects manager Vanessa Robson-Petch worked for Bill for more than 12 years and said he was “an amazing man to work for”.

“He treated everyone as if they mattered and were vital to the business,” she said.

“He was notorious for his emails. They were full of feeling and passion. I’ll miss those emails; the bad ones as much as the good ones.  

“He was an amazing man, boss, mentor and friend, I’ll miss him deeply but hope to continue on and make him proud of where Stocklick goes next.”

Narelle and Brendan Lucey, Weona Station, Mt Garnet were Bill’s first ever Stocklick Trading clients.

When they first met Bill he was working for Elders Atherton, and they continued doing business with him through his Primac years and beyond.

“Bill long held a vision of opening his own lick plant, and when he found the block of ground at Battle Creek (Just outside Mt Garnet) he rang me and asked me if it would be a good position, I said he couldn't go wrong and the rest as they say is history!”

“Bill meant the world to this community, his business brought in much needed money and jobs, and you were always treated like family not just a customer.”

“To put it simply yellow and black meant Bill McGuinness and Stocklick.”

Former employee Amy Macintosh said regarding her time at Stocklick Trading that “it’s not always the way that you work in a company where you feel a sense of utmost belonging, where you take pride and ownership of the work you do, and in the successes and growth of the company as if it were your own business”.

“It’s unusual to be in a situation where, for the first year, you hadn't yet met the staff in the other offices but after countless hours on the phone, they were like family when you finally did meet them, and where three and a half years after leaving to go travelling, you still say "our lick" when talking about their products.”

Amy said this was the sense of ownership, pride, friendship and inclusiveness that Bill radiated himself and instilled in the business and his staff.

“It’s hard to believe, after all his health battles, Bill has lost this one.

“He was an eternal optimist and never let his health ruin his attitude. He led from behind and always encouraged us to have a go and do what we think might work.

“He’ll be sadly missed by us all and will leave a huge void not only at Stocklick but also for all of the graziers, sheep, cattle, horses of northern Australia.

“Fly high Bill and thank you for everything!”


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