Born: Established: 3 Jun 1890 Murgheboluc ; Died: 13 Apr 1959 Mackay
Writer and barrister William Albert Amiet was born on 3rd June 1890 at Murgheboluc, Victoria to Mary Ann (née Begley) and her husband Edward William Amiet, who had come to Australia with his parents from Switzerland to undertake fruit growing in the district. William was educated at the local state school and attended Ormond College, University of Melbourne where he graduated with a B.A. (1911) and a first class M.A. in modern languages in 1912. Upon moving to Queensland in 1912 he became involved with the Young Men's Christian Association where he was instrumental in organising concerts for the railway workers at Dawson River valley. Following his appointment as a master at Maryborough Grammar School he undertook law studies and was called to the Bar in Brisbane in 1916. Having been admitted as a practioner in the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Queensland he decided to enlist in the Australian Infantry Force. He served in France until the end of World War I. After a brief attendance at King's College, London, where he embarked on a postgraduate course, he returned to Brisbane.
In 1920 he moved to Mackay where he entered into partnership with the solicitor Vincent Macrossan. On 17 December 1923, in the Catholic presbytery, Amiet married Agnes May Hurley, a 22-year-old civil servant. They had three daughters. Amiet was foundation president of the Mackay Rotary Club and a patron of local business, sporting and social organisations. In November 1929 he failed in his bid for the Federal seat of Herbert as a Coalitionist candidate. For over thirty years he regularly contributed to the Mackay Daily Mercury. He actively established the weekend edition of that newspaper as an intellectural forum and in the 1930s formed the 'Mercredian Munchers', a small group of like-minded literature and scientific enthusiasts. Amiet republished some of his columns from the Mackay Daily Mercury in Starry Ages (1932) and Starry Pages (1937).
His voluminous library was the major source of his prolific writing. He published A Shakespeare or Two (1935), which reprinted many of his editorials from The Mackay Daily Mercury. This was followed by Literature by Language (1932), The Practice of Literary History (1936) and Courses in Literary History (1938). Amiet strongly supported Australian Literature in his reviews and criticism. Amiet also published pamphlets on legal matters and lent his support to the opposition of the restrictive racial and immigration policies of the 1930s. He was active in both World Wars. His poetry collection, Metrical Diversions of a Sexagenarian (1952) included poems from World War I to the 1950s, one of which was in memory of his daughter Berenice who was killed in a car accident.
Survived by his wife and other two daughters, Amiet died in the Mater Hospital, Mackay, of cardiorenal failure, on 13 April 1959. The Amiet Memorial Library at Mackay commemorates him.