The last-surviving Bee Gee, Barry Gibb, may call America home but a big piece of his heart remains in Australia – on the Redcliffe peninsula.
In January, he was named an honorary Companion of the Order of Australia for his service and achievement – credited for supporting and developing the Australian music industry and showcasing it to the world.
He was also recognised for his philanthropy and charity work, including performing with Olivia Newton-John in a 2009 charity concert for Victorian bushfire and Queensland flood victims.
Barry was one third of the supergroup the Bee Gees, with brothers Maurice and Robin who shot to stardom with disco hits such as Stayin Alive, You Should Be Dancing, More than a Woman, Night Fever, Tragedy, and How Deep is Your Love.
The boys, who first started performing when they were children in Manchester in 1956, were discovered while living in Redcliffe and signed their first contract on the kitchen table of their peninsula home.
It followed a serendipitous trip down to the Redcliffe Speedway in 1959, where they asked to play in between races.
They played their own compositions, which caught the attention of racing driver Bill Goode who told his friend, DJ Bill Gates about the trio.
Gates recorded several of the brothers’ songs and would play them on his radio program.
At Gates’ suggestion, they called themselves the B.G.’s, noting the common initials among Bill Goode, Barry Gibb, and Bill Gates—not to mention Barbara Gibb, the boys’ mother.
This was eventually stylized as the Bee Gees, the Brothers Gibb … and the rest is disco history.
Barry has spoken fondly of the years he and his family spent in Redcliffe, describing it as paradise. He returned to the peninsula in 2013 for the opening of Bee Gees Way – a project he worked closely with Moreton Bay Regional Council to develop.
The walkway off Redcliffe Pde is a tribute to the brothers Gibb, including Andy Gibb who carved out his own musical career as a solo artist.
It contains photos from Barry’s personal collection, memories, audio visual presentation with music, light show and statues of the trio as boys and men.
Barry returned for the opening of stage two of the project in 2015. Both official openings were huge events, with thousands lining Redcliffe Pde and many climbing trees in Sutton St to catch a glimpse of Barry.
The walkway is now a tourist attraction, with busloads of people coming to see it every week.
Barry, 75, has received many accolades over the years including knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to music and charity in 2018.
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