Through some stories we may learn a little more about the history of our area. 

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Maleny Resident, Brian Baillie

In our community we have a lot of people with very specific abilities and many of them have had amazing lives.    It regularly astounds how these talented people find their way to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

This week we look at the life of Brian Baillie.

Brian Baillie is Senior Vice President of The Maleny Community Centre.     In a moment of weakness he has been heard to say that it is the most frustrating thing he has ever done.    There is a plan for a major upgrade of the Maleny Community Centre which has stood almost unchanged since the early 1950's when it was built to replace the previous one burnt down in a fire that almost burnt out the entire central business centre.

It is hoped that this reconstruction will start before the turn of this year.     In discussing the plans Brian was heard to say, "HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL '.

Brian and his wife Cynthia purchased a farm house and some land in Maleny in 1976.     Brian and Cynthia have six children and all the family have had a interesting past before settling in Maleny.

At the age of 14 during the early years of the World War II Brian ran off to sea as a Deck Boy/Ordinary seaman.    Over the war years and up until 1951 Brian maintained a seagoing career.

When asked about memorable incidents, Brian Said, "At one stage of the war the ship I was on was in the Caribbean and through enemy action list its bow.   We limped into Panama and were in dry dock for six weeks.    Coming from England, I had never seen a banana.   We were allowed to use the American Forces canteen and their banana splits were the biggest and the best without exception and I had one a day for six weeks.   I am not quite so keen on them now."

In 1951 Brian met Cynthia, married and they came to live in Brisbane.

At the time he was Chief Officer in Blue Star Line at the time.   The Blue Star Line was founded by the Vestey family of England to carry their chilled beef from Argentina and other South American countries, where they had large cattle ranches and freezer works.

The Vesty family also had large cattle interests in Australia.

The company was formally registered in 1911 and the first ships were registered with Lloyds Register of Shipping between 1912-1913.   Prior to World War I Blue Star Line ships carried perishables to England from China and Asia.    During World War 1 the Blue Star line carried beef to supply the allied armies in France.

On arriving in Brisbane Brian got a job as Stevedore Supervisor with Brisbane Wharves and Stevedoring Company.    This company was then the largest wharf owning and stevedoring company in Brisbane.

Over the next two decades Brian became General Manager of B.W.W.D. T   his company was owned by the P.&O. Shipping Line (Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company - P. & O.).    He soon became a Director of P. & O. Australia and later Managing Director of that company.

P&O in those days was involved in cruises, holiday resorts, shipping agencies, stevedoring, container terminals, bulk cold stores and food distribution.     Offshore supply vessels and seagoing contracting were also important tasks carried out by P.& O. Shipping Lines.

The P. & O. Shipping company has had a long history as a shipping company trading between England, Australia and Asia.   From 1840, less than 60 years after Australia was first settled, following consultations with the British Admiralty, P & O operated a regular mail service, initially contracted to run to Alexandria in North Africa, but to be extended to India within two years.    By 1850 this service had grown to include not only Mediterranean ports but also Bombay, Ceylon, Calcutta, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.    In 1852 the mail service was further extended to Australia.

In 1861 the British Post Office took over responsibility for the mail contract which then included a clause stating that mail had to be carried overland.     This continued until 1886, so even after the opening of the Suez Canal, P & O were obliged to unload the mail at Alexandria, carry it across land and then re-load at Suez, often to the same ship for onward carriage to India and points further east.

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In the late eighties The Baillies moved to Sydney where they remained for thirteen Years.    Remaining with the P..& O. Shipping Line he became Vice Chairman of P & O ASIA with offices in Hong Kong and London.

Finally, in 1993 he became a main board Director of The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company of London

In 1993 the Baillies took up full time residence in Maleny in the farm house they had bought in 1976.    A major renovation took place and the house became the Baillie's haven, having views along the entire Sunshine Coast coastline.

Over the next decade the Baillies enjoyed Maleny but did not get involved in the community due to their busy lifestyle.   Two years ago Brian thought that they should play a part in Maleny life.

Tow organisations that appealed to him were the Maleny Community Centre Committee and the Maleny Film Society.    Both these organisations had visions that would require a lot of member participation if they were to succeed.

Brian said, "He hopes that he can stay the distance without being totally frustrated and see the Community Centre refurbished and expanded - a centre that Maleny can be proud of."

He, however, is aware of a process initiated by the Caloundra City Council to develop a community and cultural precinct at Bicentenary Lane.     Unfortunately, it is not released outside the Management Committee of the MCC at this time.    No doubt in the next couple of months it will be the topic of conversation.


Photo left shows artists impression of the proposed
changes to the front of the Maleny Community Centre.


"Heavens knows where this will leave the Maleny Community Centre, said Brian "hopefully with finance from the Gaming Fund and others, Maleny Community Centre will by the end of the year see a significant upgrade to the existing facilities."

Then he could at the age of Eighty retire to his farm house once again.    The sketch of a proposed façade for the Maple Street side of MCC is included for interest, but it is only one idea floated at this time quite separate from the precinct concept.

I am sure that there are many more of you out there who have bits of
information that would be of great interest to the rest of us.  

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Like the naked city there are a thousand stories in the
Sunshine Coast Hinterland

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