Thursday, January 7, 2010

Kate Baillieu

So, who do we have today?

Kate Baillieu. That's a hard name to spell.

Lord Wiki says she's a rich girl...I guess like Paris Hilton.

I wonder why I added her to the list.

Baby Kate was born in Melbourne on 7 January 1946. She's much older than Paris Hilton.

Baillieu went to St. Catherine's School in Toorak. Lord Wiki says Toorak is a south-eastern suburb of Melbourne. Ah! Sunday Reed (friend of Sidney Nolan) went to the all-girls school as well.

After her schooling, Baillieu went to work for Kerry Packer. She became his personal assistant. Lord Wiki doesn't mention anything about her going to a university. Maybe she skipped that?

In 1977, Baillieu won an award from something called The Anti-Football League. These might be my type of people. Actually, they're not. I don't like sport, but I have no problem with other people liking it. I think passion is awesome. For example, I love that there are people who are totally obsessed with Star Trek. I think the whole Trekie thing is fun and adorable, even though I'm not personally part of it.

Maybe there's a difference between being a Star Trek and football fan though. Star Trek fans are kind of on the fringe of society. Football fans in Australia probably are not. They're probably very much in the mainstream. Because of this, those who do not like football might feel a bit alienated. It might be nice for them to have a tongue-in-cheek organization to belong to.

I'm guessing anytime you have a very popular phenomena, there's going to be anti-groups.

I see there's an anti-Harry Potter Club on Facebook. It has only eighteen members though. There's also some anti-Twilight clubs.

In 1983, Baillieu got married to a politician/businessman named Julian Doyle. They ended up having one daughter together. Later they divorced.

I'm wondering where Baillieu got her money. A heiress is someone who inherited money, right? I guess she got it from her parents or grandparents. I'm just surprised that Lord Wiki doesn't talk more about them. Well, maybe I just haven't gotten to that part yet.

We do have her brother here. His name is Ted Baillieu. He's currently the Opposition Leader in Victoria. He could become Premier someday.

Lord Wiki says that Kate Baillieu refuses to publicly support her brother. I wonder why. Do they not get along? Maybe she doesn't support the Liberal Party? I totally support her not supporting her brother. I'm not into this idea that we need to support family and friends if they go into politics. I mean I think we SHOULD support them in terms of congratulating them, and wishing them luck. But I don't think we should be obligated to campaign for them, or vote for them. I wouldn't support a Republican politician just because they were my neighbor, cousin, friend's son, etc.

Baillieu lives in a very affluent area of Victoria called Portsea. I'm going to find it on Google Maps. Lord Wiki says it has THE richest postcode in Australia.

Portsea is about two hours south of Melbourne. It's on the tip of the peninsula....the Mornington Peninsula. I'm very proud of myself because I had a feeling it was called morning-something.

Lord Wiki says it's where Harold Holt drowned.

There's some controversy regarding old and new money in the area. Baillieu has been accused of being elitist. She denies that being true. I remember the old/new money issue in NYC. I think the Upper East Side was known for being old money, while the Upper West Side was more about new money.

Baillieu doesn't get along with one of her neighbors...Lindsay Fox. She fought against him being able to land his helicopter at his home. In court, it was revealed that she herself had landed helicopters in Portsea...back when she was Kerry Packer's assistant. Ah, that's a bit hypocritical, maybe.

Around 2002 and 2003, Baillieu fought against the government selling Point Nepean to rich people. I guess it was government land. Maybe park land?

I'm reading what Lord Wiki has to say. The area is in Portsea. It was declared a National Park in 1988. In 2002, the Department of Defense considered selling the land. People protested, and the plan was abandoned.

Here's an article about Point Nepean and Kate Baillieu. I love how this bit is written. Twenty people, ranging from hard-core greenies to Portsea blue-bloods, are shouting across each other, often at cross-purposes, in a sort of swirl. It's surprising that all these people can agree about anything, let alone embrace each other so fervently. But their differences don't matter here, because they are united behind a clear common cause: to save Point Nepean, and to see it established as a national park.

I think it's neat when unexpected alliances occur. For example, what if big bad mean aliens came to take over Earth? I bet there'd be much less fighting between the Jews and Palestinians.

The article says the Baillieu was born to Melbourne's most prominent family. I need to learn more about this family.

Ah! I found something. Guess who was part of the Baillieu family! Sunday Reed. She was the niece of William Baillieu. It looks like the wealth all began with him.

Well, there's a probably a reason that I'm writing about Baillieu the day after I wrote about Sidney Nolan. I probably added them to the list around the same time.

I wonder how Kate is related to William. I'm not easily finding that information.

Anyway, the article talks about how being a heiress is both a bless and curse. Her wealth opens some doors, but closes others. The article says, The Baillieu name, however, does not open doors to everyone. From the moment she took up the cudgels for the open land at Point Nepean, she has been faced with the suspicion that she and her moneyed cohorts were interested only in their own property values, or in keeping the riff-raff out of well-heeled Portsea.

Wealthy people are usually immediately accused of being superficial greedy snobs...especially if they inherited the money. And sometimes the stereotypes are well-deserved. But in my experience, these types of people exist in all financial levels. There are financially-challenged people who are very materialistic snobs. That's kind of bad because they can't quite afford it, and often end up going into debt.

The article has some information about Baillieu. She has lots of books. I do too. I love books.

She trained as a medical social worker, and spent three years working in a hospital.

Here's an article about Baillieu's mother, Diana. She died in April 2008. Kate's grandfather William Johnstone Knox died in World War I. In her will, Diana asked for half her ashes to be put with her father's grave, and half with her mother's grave.

Oh, and on top of that....she wanted her daughter (the topic of today's post) to take the ashes on a pilgrimage. The pilgrimage was to Belgium. I wonder what that was all about. Why do we care so much about what happens to our remains? Does it really matter what happens to our ashes or corpse? I'm guessing it's some kind of inherent human concern. I've seen it in a variety of cultures...including Truganini's intense fear of her body ending up in the wrong hands. I'm guessing Aboriginal spirituality was involved in that. Is it safe to assume religious/spiritual people worry more about their bodies? I guess it would depend on the nature of the beliefs...whether one believes the body is somehow needed in the afterlife.

Do atheists care at all? Would they be okay with being buried in a Christian/Jewish...whatever cemetery, and having a religious funeral? Would it matter to them since they're (according to themselves) VERY much gone? Or would they want their own belief system respected at their farewell ceremonies.

I feel all torn about that. There's a part of me that does NOT want a Jewish funeral. I'm so not connected to Judaism. I don't like the rabbi of our local synagogue. I'm not involved with the Jewish community. It bothers me to imagine the rabbi doing my funeral. Well, honestly he's much older than me, so I hope to outlive the guy. But that bothers me to imagine myself having a Jewish funeral. I'd probably want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered in the Pacific long as it's not bad for the fishes or something.

A part of me though thinks I'll be dead, and it's more about what pleases my family. They'd want me to have a Jewish funeral....I'm pretty sure. Although hopefully I'll live to be 129 and it will be Jack and my grandchildren making the decisions. Jack's pretty much atheist, and I'm sure he'd be fine with the ocean thing.

Well, I just took a break to eat brunch with Jack. While I ate my lentil soup, I came to a realization. I think it's all less about the afterlife and religious/spiritual beliefs. I think it's more about respecting someone's life....their passions, interests, and dislikes. I think it would be a slap in the face to have a memorial/funeral that does not correspond well with what the dead person believed.

Anyway, let me stop this morbid talk and get back to the morbid article.

Well, it pretty much just lists who got what after Diana Baillieu died. I think I'll move onto something else.

This article talks about something that Lord Wiki mentioned, and I ignored. Baillieu had almost been a reporter for Sixty Minutes. In the 1970's, she was a reporter for A Current Affair. Then she was offered a part on a new show. Oh! She actually did the show. She filmed some interviews, but for some reason they never aired.

From what I'm reading, it seems she got the job from Kerry Packer. She ended up not liking it, but at first hesitated about backing out.

The article says Baillieu was working at Alfred Hospital when the media jobs began for her. One of her friends worked for the Herald Son, had invited Baillieu to do a guest column. I guess then one thing led to another. Maybe that's how she met Packer. I wonder if she was his personal assistant first, or did the 60 Minutes thing first. Well, I guess I should just read the rest of the article.

Anyway, in her column, she used her experiences at Alfred Hospital to write about abortion law reform.

I guess that went over well. She was then invited to be a a panelist on an ABC TV show called Hemline. Then she ended up on ABC radio.

In the article, the current Kate Baillieu says she does not watch a lot of TV. She doesn't like watching the news.

I'm still not sure if she was Packer's personal assistant before or after 60 Minutes. Oh well. It's not that important. I'm probably going to quit here.

Or maybe not. First, I'm going to take another look at this Point Nepean Park. The Mornington Peninsula website has a page about it. They say Point Nepean was closed to the public for a hundred years. I guess it opened up in 1988 when the area was established a national park.

There's a holiday park in Point Nepean...Kangerong Holiday Park. I love holiday parks. My dream would be to win the lottery, then travel around Australia and stay at holiday parks.

Anyway, Point Nepean looks pretty great; a nice mixture of history and nature. There's a Quarantine Station. As I would assume, there are ghost tours sometimes offered there.


  1. In spite of her wealth, I like Kate. She was just in the papers this morning, again not happy with Lindsay Fox. He moved his fence closer to the high water mark.

  2. The next time you're downunder you have to go to the Quarantine Station ghost tours! OMG! I don't scare easily...... The shower block is the creepiest thing I have ever seen!!! You must take you camera!!

  3. Andrew: Yeah. She seems pretty decent.

    Alex: I was thinking of going last time, but never got around to it! Okay, maybe I got too scared. It's one of those things that I WANT to do, but at the same time I don't want to do it. I think I'm afraid some ghost will follow me home, and I'll end up like a character in a horror movie.

  4. I remember Kate being "my favourite reporter" on "A Current Affair". But that was a long, long time ago :)