Legendary bookmaker Bill Waterhouse dies


One of the biggest bookmakers to field in Australia, Bill Waterhouse, has died.

The legendary bagman's son Robbie Waterhouse said his father "left us peacefully with his family by his side."

Bill Waterhouse enjoyed a great day with his great-grandchildren last Sunday, according to Robbie. "He was in good spirits till the end."

Waterhouse was 97.

"He has become more and more frail over time," Robbie Waterhouse told the Daily Telegraph. "He himself knew two days ago that he wasn't going to make it.

"I must say the doctor said as recently as this morning said I've never had a patient fight more than your father. But we knew he was in trouble

"He has lived an extraordinary life."

Waterhouse was the patriarch of a family of bookmakers. Robbie, who is married to champion trainer Gai, followed his father into the game, as did his grandson, Tom.

Three geneerations of the Waterhouses — Tom, Robbie and Bill Waterhouse.
Three geneerations of the Waterhouses — Tom, Robbie and Bill Waterhouse.

Bill Waterhouse started out working as a bookmaker's clerk for his father 1938. After a stint as a barrister, he returned to bookmaking and became the world's biggest bookmaker in 1968.

He was renowned for his betting duels with some of the world's biggest punters and remained at the top of the game for over 20 years.

In 1984, Waterhouse and Robbie lost their bookmaker's licences after it was alleged they had "prior knowledge" of the Fine Cotton ring-in at Eagle Farm. Waterhouse maintained his innocence and was reinstated as a bookmaker in 2002. He hung up his bookmaking bag in 2010 at 88.

More to come ...