Baillieu (Bails) Myer AO (11th January 1926 to 22nd January 2022)
Baillieu Myer, a man most known for his involvement in building a substantial family business and his real passion for the Arts. Perhaps a little less known involvement, was his interest and personal support of young people’s learning within rural and remote Australia.
Wanting to be known as Bails wherever he went, he would introduce himself as a person who ran a local business on the corner.
We, at Country Education Partnership (CEP) got to know Bails many years ago and as a result built a long partnership with him being the organization’s Patron for all this time. His willingness to participate in many of our organization’s activities and forums, where he brought a real conviction to making sure that our friends in rural and remote education communities did not miss out, was highly regarded and appreciated. When he spoke yearly at our AGM’s, we always looked forward to his insightful observations and inevitable classic dry witticism – and he was always offering words of gratitude and encouragement for the work that was being done in rural and remote communities.
As part of this involvement within CEP, Bails would attend every Annual meeting and personally contributed resources to acknowledge an outstanding rural/remote educator for the work they provided within their communities – the Baillieu Myer Rural Education Award. Many of our rural education communities benefited from his generous philanthropy.
He also was very passionate about encouraging rural and remote young people to believe in themselves and to chase their dreams, always taking time to catch up with these young people and spin a story or two which the young people were very appreciative of.
He would always share his passion for, and support of, a small remote school in outback New South Wales – flying there with his peers on a regular occasion to catch up and hear what was happening in their school and community.
In addition to having a great organizational relationship, many of CEP’s leaders had the great opportunity to meet with him on a personal level, often over a cup of tea. The discussion always centered on how we could better the education for young people within rural and remote communities, how could we attract more teachers to these communities, how can we celebrate what happens in these schools and how can we provide better opportunities for the young people within them.
Whenever he met us, he intently questioned us to gain an insight into our work and lives, quickly showing how relational he was with everyone.
On occasions, we would be told of the activities that he and his mate would learn for the first time on every decennial birthday – taking up the violin for the first time on his eightieth birthday is one example, demonstrating that you never stop learning.
CEP was so grateful to have had Bails as a patron – for his generosity of interest and passion for the very best learning opportunities being provided for rural young people.
Our sympathies to the Myer family and ‘Bails’ will always have an integral place in CEP history.