Death of First Stawell Gift Winner

The Stawell Gift begins today at Central Park in Stawell.  From humble beginnings in 1878 with a foot race been miners, the meet has grown to be a major annual event on the Australian athletics calendar.  Drawing thousands of people to the Stawell and Grampians region for the Easter period, the Gift has seen many international and leading Australian athletes.

The Gift has certainly come a long way since William Millard of Condah won the first gift in 1878.  The win, however, was not without controversy.  William was almost disqualified.  He died in 1939 at Hamilton Hospital and as these articles attest, his athletic ability was not only confined to the track…he was the father to twenty children from two marriages.  The family name is still common today in the south-west of Victoria.  William’s great-grandson, Daniel Millard won the Stawell Gift in 1997.

“First Stawell Gift Winner Dead” Sporting Globe (Melbourne, Vic. : 1922 – 1954) 3 May 1939: 12 (Edition2 : Cycling And Athletic Sections). <;.

“STAWELL EASTER GIFT” News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) 21 April 1924: 6 (Sporting Edition). <;.

WON FIRST GIFT. (1939, April 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 13. Retrieved February 16, 2012, from

FIRST STAWELL GIFT WINNER. (1939, May 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 17. Retrieved February 16, 2012, from

10 thoughts on “Death of First Stawell Gift Winner

  1. Does anyone know if William Millard was a Frenchman, and if one of his daughters was Daisy Dell ( or Daisy Maude) Millard who married Elmo Thomas Lang, I think in the early 1900s?

    Pamela Sheedy


      • Hello Merron,

        Thank you for that information, the Stawell gift started me wondering about William Millard, my grandmother, always told us he was her father, and that he was French, also, that her mother died when she was young. I remember she said she had two (at least) older sisters, one was named Millie, and the other was Fanny, who lived in Murray Bridge, and she had a brother Will who had a sheep-station in or near, Horsham. He had two children one was Alf and the other one was Mary, who married an American Serviceman during the second world war, and moved to the States with him. My mothers maiden name was Norma Millard Lang, I believe my grandfather (Elmo Thomas Lang) came from Hamilton, I think he died in I think he died in 1969 or 1970. Not sure of Nana’s date of birth or death, think it was about 1977 or 78 when she died and she was I think, 86 years old, so her date of birth would have been around 1891.

        The mystery deepens, but thank you for all your help and the information you sent me. I will have to be careful what I pass on to my grandchildren.

        Kind regards,



      • Hi Pamela

        I have found that Elmo Thomas LANG (b: 1895 Hamilton, Father: Thomas William LANG Mother: Rose SCULLION,) married Mary Maud Daisy Millard (b: 1892 Dartmoor, Victoria Father: William Henry MILLARD Mother: Harriet Marion HOSKINS) in 1890.
        William Millard the Stawell Gift winner was William Jackson MILLARD born William JACKSON (per Glenelg & Wannon Settlers site), and he took his name MILLARD from his mother’s third husband William MILLARD. I have been trying to find a link to that William MILLARD and William Henry MILLARD, but that is a little more difficult.

        Info about Elmo and Mary from Victorian Birth, Deaths and Marriage Index.

        I hope that helps a little more.


  2. Hello All, I’ve just come across this thread, My Great Grandfather was Elmo Thomas Lang, I’m looking to find any photos of him! Are any of you able to help?

    Kind Regards


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