In October 2023, Bill Fuller, one of the greats of the baking industry sadly passed away. From his enthusiasm for helping young people entering the industry to his Roadkill Pies and his bakery in Mentone, the lasting impact of Bill’s legacy will be felt for a long time to come.
Bill Fuller was only 14 years old when he began what would become a decades-long career in the baking industry.
It all started after a barber in town made an off-hand comment to his dad that a nearby bakery, Hastings bakery, was looking for a young apprentice. This was in 1949, and though his role in the industry changed many times over the year, Bill’s passion and dedication for the craft never left him.
Over the course of his career, Bill and his late wife Betty ran a successful and popular bakery in Mentone.
The Mentone Bakery was where Bill perfected his first pie, which he became very well known and well decorated for as his medals in the Official Great Aussie Pie Comp continued to add up.
Not only was he a stellar baker, Bill Fuller was also truly dedicated to the industry and always happy to share his experiences.
“Everyone who had met Bill Fuller remembered him. He always had a unique story to tell. He shared photos of his bakery and his experiences,” said Janet Blythman, stalwart of the industry, said.
Bill’s dedication to the industry and to up and coming bakers is something that he will be remembered for. He was always enthusiastic about passing on knowledge to the next generation.
“Bill loved nothing better that to meet the ABINSA scholarship regional winners each year and would always have a yarn to tell them,” said Janet.
“Bill had an impact on everyone he met. He just loved talking to people and telling a good yarn. He was one of a kind, a gentleman with strong values. [He had] a heart of gold and would always help anyone he could.”
The team at Baking Business had a special relationship with Bill Fuller. His enthusiasm and dedication, along with his humorous stories, were always a bright spot at every expo that we attended.
“We were heartbroken at the news of the passing of Bill Fuller,” said Michelle Vellacott, long-standing member of the team.
“Bill was always someone we looked forward to catching up with when we attended expos. His zest for life and the industry was amazing. Even when he sold his bakery, Bill was still front and centre at the shows never losing his passion for baking.”
Like many others in the industry, our team was often entertained by Bill’s hilarious and interesting stories and anecdotes.
“We loved hearing his stories and there are so many to talk about, but one that we all will never forget is Bill’s roadkill pies, we would be in fits of laughter,” Michelle said.
“It was an absolute pleasure to have known Bill professionally and personally. He was a baker, friend, and mentor, cherished by so many in the industry and lives he touched along the way.”
Bill leaves behind many loving family members and friends. Vale Bill Fuller, you will be sorely missed.
“I had the pleasure of Bill’s company on more occasions than I cared to count, he would sometimes surprise the regional scholarship recipients with the story of his delicious Roadkill Pie, which he claimed to made for the masses. Bill was rather cheeky at times, coming out with some pretty awkward remarks… in short, he was a true Aussie larrikin with a heart of gold.”
Fee Lee, director at Baketec Training Australia
“I can recall hearing back from some regional scholarship winners after an ASB industry tour that the two people that most impressed them with their knowledge, anecdotes, and stories on the bus were John Packham and Bill Fuller.”
Craig Perry, organiser of Bake Skills Australia
“In memory of a truly generous man. He gave his time freely, always ready to listen and share stories that became legendary. His commitment to supporting new talent and the baking industry was unwavering. His cheeky grin will not be forgotten.”
Alan Kirk, Baking Business publisher