Dr Antony Ball was born in 1941 and died on New Year’s Day, 2016. Known to all and sundry as Tony, he had battled various forms of cancer for a long time. Each outbreak was met with equanimity and an intense academic desire to know and understand the pathology and the treatment of his condition.
Tony joined the Illawarra Historical Society in 2001 and was elected a board member in 2005. He was Vice-President from 2006 until 2013 and served as President from March 2013 until his death. Tony brought many skills to the Society from his former careers in real estate and teaching, as a senior administrator with TAFE NSW and as a human resources consultant. Tony honed his quiet, yet firm, negotiating skills over a long period and used them to great effect in the many community and other groups in which he was involved.
As well as the Illawarra Historical Society, Tony was president of the Berkeley Pioneer Cemetery Restoration Group. He was a descendant of the Jenkins family who were granted the Berkeley estate in 1816 and who provided the land for the cemetery. Tony wrote God’s Acre : Berkeley Pioneer Cemetery in 2013.
Tony’s connection with the early families of Wollongong made him a natural candidate for membership of the Illawarra 200 committee. A joint venture of the Wollongong City Council and the Shellharbour Municipal Council, the committee was established to advise on the celebration of local history over the past two hundred years. The celebrations were very important to Tony as they represented two hundred years of his family’s connection with Illawarra. It is unfortunate that he will not be there.
Tony had a wide circle of friends, former work colleagues and other contacts. He was always happy to meet for a coffee and a chat. A discussion with Tony would wander through many topics that invariably included his reminiscences of time he spent in Wollongong as a boy. Tony wasn’t a pedant but his academic training meant that he always insisted on knowing the origin and veracity of information. He would often shake his head and say I just don’t know and would then worry until he had the answer.
The Illawarra Historical Society was fortunate to have Tony as a member and as President. His gentle presence and his wise counselling will be missed.
(John Shipp. 6 January 2016)