The Sydney Markets community and the wider Australian fresh produce industry have lost one of its larger than life identities in Bill Chalk. William Francis "Bill" Chalk passed away on October 28, aged 72. The self-made businessman and wholesaler was one of the best-known faces at the Sydney Markets.
His parents operated a fruit barrow at Maroubra Beach but his father was killed by a tram when Mr Chalk was two. Subsequently, Mr Chalk spent much of his early childhood sitting in a banana box alongside his mother who continued the fruit barrow business.
Bill Chalk managed a business called Apple Growers and Merchants for Andrew Caltabiano, before buying into Zai Brothers with his good friend, John Discusso. From here he approached Warren Saggin and Victorian tomato grower Joe Vraca to form Southern Cross Produce.
A dedicated and hard worker, Mr Chalk was considered a pioneer, foresighted leader and innovator by those who did business with him.
While a businessman through and through, Mr Chalk was widely known for his support of charitable causes be it the markets' annual Sydney Markets Charity Cherry Auction, a Variety Club activity or just giving a hand to someone who deserved a break. His long tenure as president of Freshmark was immeasurable, with his great respect and loyalty leading him to continuous re-election as president.
Mr Chalk is survived by his wife Nina, three children and seven grandchildren.