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Baxendale, Alec Goldie

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1921
Place of birth McLaren Vale
Principal occupation Grape grower
Date of death 2006
Place of decease McLaren Vale

Alic [Alec] Goldie Baxendale was born in his parents’ home on McMurtrie Rd McLaren Vale in July 1921. His father was local veterinarian George Edward Baxendale and his mother was Agnes Emma Goldie, a nurse.

He was educated at McLaren Vale Primary School before attending Adelaide High School for several years. This involved boarding with his grandmother in the city during the week and travelling by the 7 o’clock train on Monday morning to arrive in the city by 9 am. Alec’s education ended when his father had an accident and Alec was needed to help on his father’s property.

Alec served in the Air Force for 3 1/2 years from 1942. After his discharge he bought a vineyard on Section 463, next to his father’s acreage on McMurtrie Rd. It had been part of the old Wirra Wirra vineyards established by the Wigley family in 1893. Alec and Ruth's house was the original home of Robert Wigley, built in 1911/1912. They lived at 'Wigley's' on McMurtrie Road until well after their retirement from active farming.

Alec spent several years initially grubbing and replanting his vineyard as well as working for neighbours. At one stage he was working 100 acres of vineyard and orchard on his own except for help with picking and some pruning. It was a life of hard work and little income.

In 1946 Alec married Ruth Binney from Willunga. They had three children, Sally, James (Jim) and Anne.

Alec was widely respected as an innovative winegrape-grower who played a central part in the establishment of the Vine Improvement Group and other industry support activities. He won many grape pruning competitions.

Alec competed in pistol and rifle shooting with the Willunga Rifle Club and won the South Australian Rifle Association Medal in 1969. He was actively involved in the Willunga Agricultural Bureau.

Alec was a strong supporter and tireless worker for the McLaren Vale Rotary Club of which he was the founding president in 1978. He was later recognised by Rotary as a Paul Harris Fellow for his contribution over many years. He was also an active member of Willunga National Trust in support of his wife Ruth’s involvement.

Alec Baxendale died in July 2006 and is buried in the Strout cemetery, Willunga.

Sources

  • Interview with Rob Linn June 2002 National Wine Centre Oral History Project in Willunga Court House records: folder 40-41
Alec Baxendale, c 2005
Alec Baxendale, c 2005
Alec Baxendale, Ruth Baxendale, Mayor Jim Aldridge, 1996
Alec Baxendale, Ruth Baxendale, Mayor Jim Aldridge, 1996
Baxendale home, McLaren Vale, 1997
Baxendale home, McLaren Vale, 1997


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