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Remembering Colin Baker

Colin  was born in 1922 and grew up on his family’s dairy farm at Russell’s Bridge, on the left just across the river.

He attended the State School that his parents and grandparents had previously attended along with his two brothers, achieving his Merit Certificate at the end of year 8. 

As Colin had no love of school, or his one and only teacher, Mr Cox, he left school to become a farmer.

Colin worked on the farm milking cows by hand, feeding calves and pigs and making up to 450 pounds (204kg) of butter each week to sell.

Their 4 draft horses and 3 ponies were essential for their farm work and transport. There was great excitement when in 1928 his dad bought a new car; a Chevrolet Tourer.  Although getting his licence at 18 his main form of transport remained his bicycle.

Colin was called up for military service in 1941 and in 1944 a week after returning home, lost his mother.

In 1944 he purchased an adjoining farm and rented another to start growing onions and peas to supplement the farm income. 

It was through his social activities, including tennis, that he met and courted local girl Dorothy McFarline. He set about building a new home assisted by two uncles, single handedly making the 7000 concrete bricks needed. This home still stands today at Russell’s Bridge although it is no longer used as a residence.

In 1953 the arrival of electricity to the district dramatically altered their lifestyle.

After Colin’s father’s death In 1953, the family farm was divided between the three sons who continued farming in Russell’s Bridge. In 1962, his brother Max was tragically killed in a tractor accident.

In 1964 Colin was elected to the Bannockburn Shire Council, serving as Mayor for two terms; 1971-1972 and 1983-1984.

This lead to a greater involvement in community life and municipal service. He became involved in many local government committees, including the formation and membership of a District Water Board which eventually saw water reticulated through the Shire. 

He also served on many community committees and organisations – helping to rebuild the hall when it was burnt down in 1962, was a volunteer member of the Bannockburn Rural Fire brigade for over 50 years, helped develop the Bannockburn Recreation Reserve, acquired land and buildings for the Maternal Health Centre, helped establish the Bannockburn Bowls Club and was a long serving member of the Bannockburn Cemetery Trust.

Colin was a man of strong faith; a faith which informed all he said and did. His baptism in 1922 at the Russell’s Bridge Presbyterian Church was the beginning of his lifelong membership of and service to the church. He attended Sunday School and Youth Group, served as an Elder, was the Session Clerk of the Moorabool Parish and represented the Parish at both the Victorian and General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church. 

Together with the Rev. Andrew Bray and the late Ron Moreillon, he was instrumental in moving the church congregation from it’s historical Russell’s Bridge site, building and establishing the Bannockburn Community (Presbyterian) Church.

It was from here that family and the community gathered to say goodbye to a father and friend who was well respected and much loved by so many in the Bannockburn and surrounding communities.