William Beach was a champion sculler and held the title of World Sculling Champion from 1884 to 1887.
William competed in a regatta at Lake Illawarra with teammate James Duley in 1874. The pair won the race and his love and dedication to the sport was born.
He won his first World Sculling Champion title, defeating previous winner, Edward Hanlan on the Parramatta River in 1884. He went on to row unbeaten in the next six competitions held in Australian and England.
Seven thousand people lined the banks of the Nepean River in the pouring rain to watch William and Hanlan complete for the title in 1887. Beach won the race, and after the victory announced his retirement.
William was made a trustee of the Dapto Showground and Gooseberry and Hooker Islands at Lake Illawarra, and president of the local Regatta Club. He was alderman of the Central Illawarra Council and patron of the Boy Scouts.