When we heard the news that our dear colleague, John, had passed away, many of us here in WSP and the broader professional community felt a deep sadness. John worked for WSP and its predecessors in South Australia for 47 years. When John passed away, he had worked for the same company for 47 years.
John was born to Eunice & Bob Baillie. He was brother to five siblings (Faith, Brian, Julie, Paul & Jennifer); father of Anna, Madeleine and Jess; father in law of Jason and Rich; grandfather of five, and loving husband to his wife Helen.
Early in his working career with PPK John ran the newly-established office in Darwin, and in his long career with the company John worked on projects throughout Australia, as well as in Vanuatu, Tonga, Western Samoa, Papua New Guinea and India.
Without any doubt, John’s most enduring legacy will be the work he undertook to improve the housing and infrastructure in remote Aboriginal communities. This work began in the mid-1980s, and from that time John worked tirelessly to deliver improved housing and infrastructure in over 100 Aboriginal communities throughout Australia.
John’s enormous contribution to the engineering profession was appropriately recognised by Engineers Australia when he was named as one of their 100 Most Influential Engineers in their annual list published in the early 2000s.
So many quotes epitomise John:
“His knowledge and understanding of engineering and project management in remote communities spanned 50 years and he was absolutely committed to holistic outcomes. I feel lucky to have worked with him.”
“John was a true gent, an articulate colleague who worked so hard to improve conditions for Aboriginal Australians, and he was always great company over a red in some remote town in central Australia.”
“I had the pleasure to travel with John to some remote parts of Australia and was so very impressed with how much he gave of himself and how he cared about the communities he worked in.”
Mark Walsh (Retired Deputy Head) and Ken Milne LFRAIA Architect add:
“We met Jock at Rostrevor College in 1961 where he completed his secondary education. Jock was a great friend to Mark & myself for 59 years. The beginning of what became a large group of friends. John excelled academically winning the School French Prize and claiming a Commonwealth Government Scholarship. He also represented the college in the Intercollegiate Athletics at Adelaide Oval in the mile.
Jock, as he became affectionately known, worked with my office on behalf of the then PPK engineers & KPMG on the Proposed Cable Car from Eagle on the Hill to Mt Lofty, a major Tourism project which was supported by the involvement of a European Cable car company von Roll. Jock was responsible for directing & managing the significant Environmental Impact Statement for this project.
Jock also had major involvement in the Hindmarsh Island Marina Project a much appreciated & needed project in South Australia’ s Southern Lakes.
Jock was a wonderful friend, a courageous and astute professional engineer with total commitment to his profession.”
He will be sorely missed.
Dr David Cruickshanks-Boyd CPEng EngExec Hon FIEAust