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