Sir William graduated from Melbourne University with a Bachelor of Commerce (First Class Honours). In 1952 he worked in the Federal Government Treasury Department and spent a good deal of his career there. For two years from 1957 he worked at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, returning to Treasury in late 1959.
In 1970 Sir William began his role as Director of the Bureau of Transport Economics, returning to the Department of Treasury in 1972. In 1976 he was chosen for the Federal role of Australian Statistician.
Continuing to scale career heights in late 1976 he became the Secretary of the Department of Finance and was Chairman of the Public Service Board for five years from 1978. In 1983 he was appointed Secretary of the Department of Defence. After his retirement in 1986 he conducted a review of military superannuation that led to the creation of the Military Superannuation Benefits Scheme.
Sir William contributed to the Churchill Trust by generously offering his extensive business knowledge and advice to the Board in his capacity of Honorary Treasurer from 1988 to 1993. In 1994 he was elected Deputy National President and in the following year he was appointed a Life Member of the Churchill Trust.