First in Asia, and again in Australia, the Wyllie Group has involved itself in activities that further the growth and wellbeing of the community.
Apart from his substantial contributions to the improvement of business administration and corporate stability in Hong Kong, Mr Wyllie, who had a keen sense of civic and social consciousness, expended considerable time and energy towards the betterment of Hong Kong and its people as illustrated by the following: He was one of the first members of the Engineering Trades Industrial Committee, appointed in 1965 by the then Governor, Sir David Trench, to study the future manpower needs of various industries and trades in Hong Kong. As a member of the main committee, Mr Wyllie was Chairman of the automobile engineering sub-committee until 1968.
In 1966 he was appointed as a member of the Committee on Air Pollution. This was established to 'determine the causes of air pollution and to recommend the amendments or changes necessary to make the clean air ordinance effective, as well as any additional statutory or other controls which may be needed to control air pollution in Hong Kong'.
Early in 1967 a sub-committee to study the problems of motor vehicle pollution was set up with Mr Wyllie as Chairman. At the end of that year his committee was responsible for submitting a comprehensive report firmly recommending the adoption of air pollution controls for all new vehicles entering Hong Kong after a required notice period.
In 1968 Mr Wyllie was invited to chair a further committee to review and update the 1967 report and to recommend to Government the detailed procedures needed to legislate for the reduction and control of motor vehicle-caused air pollution. The subsequent recommendations of this committee, although not adopted until much later, provided the framework and basis for the present Hong Kong law.
A keen supporter of the Hong Kong Polytechnic, Mr Wyllie, while a member of the Hong Kong Motor Traders Association, introduced the first formal apprenticeship-training programme for motor mechanics in 1965. This also arranged for apprentices to attend day release classes at the Hong Kong Polytechnic.
As a private supporter of various charitable organisations in Hong Kong, Mr Wyllie was appointed a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board early in 1977 and became its Chairman to the end of 1981 when he stepped down. He had occupied this position for more than twice the usual span allowed for in the Army's constitution.
The Army is undoubtedly his favourite social welfare organisation, and until his return to Australia he continued to devote considerable personal time and effort to help expand its support in Hong Kong for the needy and underprivileged.
In November 1977 the Board of Governors of Hong Kong Polytechnic set up an 'Advisory Committee on Graduate Employment' to advise on the manpower needs of commerce and industry and to promote employment opportunities for Polytechnic graduates. Mr Wyllie was invited to be the first Chairman, a position that he had to relinquish (for conflict of interest) at the end of 1980 when he accepted an appointment on the University and Polytechnic Grants Committee (UPGC).
In 1979 he also became a member of the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Anti-Tuberculosis and Thoracic Diseases Association, and Chairman of the Management Committee of the Hong Kong Government subvented Grantham Hospital.
In January 1980 he was appointed by the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Murray MacLehose, as a member of the University and Polytechnic Grants Committee for a three-year term of office. This body is responsible for guiding Hong Kong's Universities and Polytechnics in matters relating to their future development and in the administration of the substantial funding budgets allocated to each institution by Government. Mr Wyllie was also a Vice Patron of the Hong Kong Community Chest and a former council member of the Hong Kong Management Association.
In August 1987, ASL became a founder member and Mr Wyllie the first Chairman of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (Austcham). In the period since its inauguration in October 1987, Austcham became the fastest growing chamber of commerce in Hong Kong and is now far and away the largest Australian chamber of commerce outside Australia. Today it has more than 1,000 members and an extremely active programme of services and functions for its members.
Mr Wyllie stepped down as Chairman of Austcham in November 1991 and was offered Honorary Life Membership in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the foundation and development of this very pro-active Chamber of Commerce. In the Queen's birthday honours list announced on June 14, 1993, Mr Wyllie was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of his services to Business and Commerce in Hong Kong.
Mr Wyllie's wife, Rhonda, is a Non-executive Director of Wyllie Group. As the daughter of the late Mal McGrath, the founder of the successful WA based transportable homes company, McGRATH HOMES, Mrs Wyllie worked in the family company for a number of years and has had significant exposure to both residential and commercial property development.
Since returning to Western Australia, Mrs Wyllie has also been actively involved with Mr Wyllie in planning and administering the substantial financial support of a steadily increasing number of approved charities and medical research organisations in W.A.
The more substantial recent commitments include $500,000 to the Lions Eye Institute Research Facility Building Appeal, $750,000 for the purchase of land and construction of buildings to the Salvation Army, to assist them in relocating their Crossroads West youth programme from Nedlands to Landsdale, and $250,000 to assist in the establishment of the Chair of Urology Research Centre at the University of WA.
An amount of $350,000 was committed to complete the Arthritis Foundation of WA headquarters and research facility in Shenton Park and a further $500,000 to assist the Salvation Army in the construction of a new facility at Nedlands for the care and treatment of people suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
$300,000 has also been directed to the Speech & Hearing Centre for Children in order to assist in the development and ownership of a purpose-built commercial and professional premises at Lake Monger, near Perth. In addition to these major programmes, there are also a number of other charities that are supported by the Wyllies which, together, run into some hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations annually.