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William Lawrence (Willie) Baillieu (1859–1936)

The death occurred in London early this morning of Mr. William Lawrence Baillieu, one of the outstanding figures in Australian industry. He was 76.

Mr. Baillieu had been living in Europe for three years following a serious illness in Australia. His health lately had been improved considerably, but a week ago he contracted influenza. He was recovering when pneumonia developed. His daughter, Miss V. L. Baillieu, was with him when he died at his London home, 12 Hyde Park Gate.

Mr. Baillieu was born at Queenscliff on April 22, 1859, and was the second son of the late Mr. J. G. Baillieu, one of Melbourne's earliest pioneers. At 14 he entered the Queenscliff branch of the Bank of Victoria, and at 25, with Mr. Donald Munro, began business as an auctioneer and estate agent. After seven years Mr. Baillieu withdrew from the partnership and founded W. L. Baillieu & Co. From this beginning Australia saw the launching and development of some of the greatest industrial enterprises now existing in the Commonwealth.

Mr. Baillieu was chairman of the Electrolytic Zinc and of Amalgamated Zinc (De Bavays) Ltd., chairman of directors of Broken Hill Associated Smelters and North Broken Hill, and a director of the Dunlop Rubber Co., Yarra Falls Ltd., Mount Morgan Gold Mining Co., Zinc Producers' Association, Melbourne Trust, Metal Manufacturers Ltd., Electrolytic Refining and Smelting Co. and the Hampden Cloncurry Copper Mines. He also had large pastoral interests and was a director and vice chairman for many years of the Herald and Weekly Times Ltd.

Mr. Ballieu is survived by three sons —Mr. Clive Baillieu (who is one of Australia's leading business men in London), Messrs. H. L. and T. L. Baillieu (who are on the land in Victoria), and four daughters—Mrs. Robert Ramsay. Mrs. Julian Smith, Mrs. J. Vickers (N.S.W.). and Miss V. L. Baillieu. 

In 1901 Mr. Baillieu was elected to the Legislative Council for Northern Province, and eight years later joined the Murray Watt Cabinet as Minister for Public Works and Leader of the Council. In 1911 he resigned his portfolio of Public Works but remained as honorary Minister, and in 1912, when the Watt Ministry was formed, joined it as Honorary Minister and leader in the Council. He continued to hold these offices until the defeat of the Peacock Ministry in 1917. He retired from public life in 1922, when he was unofficial leader in the Upper House.

Mr. Baillieu was a brilliant organiser and a man with a great capacity for leading. He had wide sympathies, and he and his brothers presented to the Government the present Anzac Hostel for Wounded Soldiers in Brighton.

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'Baillieu, William Lawrence (Willie) (1859–1936)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 July 2024.

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