Keith Brazier was instrumental in the development of North Queensland.
Keith Brazier was instrumental in the development of North Queensland.

Champion of North Queensland dies

Townsville and the survey profession have lost one of its innovators.

Keith Brazier was instrumental in the development of the North and in shaping Townsville, not only in terms of the significant developments he assisted in delivering, but also the many community Boards on which he sat championing the interests of this region.

Keith Dunstan Brazier was born to Dorothy Amy Dunstan and Felix Howard Brazier on March 2, 1929.

He was born in the front room of their home on the corner of Sussex Street and Bayswater

Road in Hermit Park as had his four siblings, Nancy, Doug, David and Jeff.

Keith's father moved to Townsville in 1925 to take up the position of City Engineer and held that role with distinction, himself contributing much to the emerging city.

After commencing his education at Hermit Park School, Keith was evacuated to family in the south during the war and completed his education at Toowoomba Grammar.

He completed his senior year in 1946 and returned to Townsville to take up Articles with surveyor, George Nutt.

 

Keith Brazier in a Townsville Bulletin article.
Keith Brazier in a Townsville Bulletin article.

 

 

After learning much, he then took a position with the Lands Department in Brisbane where

he surveyed soldier settler blocks in the Brigalow scrub land around Wandoan.

Following a short illness, he finished his Articles under surveyor, Thor Jensen, and met lifelong friends Jack Bowers and Robin Francis.

All went on to build successful surveying practices which continue to operate to this day.

Keith met his future wife, Jennifer Walker, in Brisbane and after a short engagement they were married in early 1953.

They returned to North Queensland and, at the age of 24, Keith established his practice in

Ingham.

The work was hard, with most of the work away engaged in surveys of cane farms and large grazing leases.

It was in Ingham that his interest in community service commenced.

He joined the Ingham Rotary Club in 1954 and remained a Rotarian until the end of his life. He was presented the Paul Harris Fellow Award twice for his significant service.

 

Dr Ken Back, Alan Wilson, Keith Brazier, Bill Hooper and Rex Moss viewing the plans for the new Douglas campus on site in 1964. Photo: JCU Records.
Dr Ken Back, Alan Wilson, Keith Brazier, Bill Hooper and Rex Moss viewing the plans for the new Douglas campus on site in 1964. Photo: JCU Records.

 

In the late 1950s, James Cook University was establishing in the North and Keith was appointed to the inaugural Advisory Council as the Ingham representative.

Also about this time, he met a young Laurie Motti.

Keith encouraged him to study surveying at the University of Queensland and four years later, Laurie graduated with the SE Reilly Prize.

A partnership followed and Brazier Motti was formed.

It continues successfully to this day.

Townsville was growing and in 1962 Keith relocated from Ingham to establish an office at Alroy Chambers in Flinders Street.

Here the business developed and Keith took on designing and surveying the expanding suburbs of Aitkenvale, Heatley, Vincent, Kirwan and Condon to name a few.

Annandale was soon to follow.

Townsville was home and offered a great place to raise his four children, Lindy, Tim, Anna and Stephen.

On moving to Townsville, Keith transferred to the Rotary Club of Townsville and continued his community service.

He was the President of the Club in 1972/73.

At this time, Keith was also on the Board of the then Bush Children's Health Scheme at Rowes Bay, and with friend and fellow Rotarian, Brian Addison, created the Rotary Traffic Training Centre at Hugh Street.

Keith was also very active within his profession, joining the Institution of Surveyors as soon as he qualified.

He was instrumental in the formation of the Northern Group of the Queensland Division of the Institution of Surveyors and was also active in promoting the Association of Consulting Surveyors in North Queensland.

In recognition of his contribution to the profession, he was elected a Fellow of the Institution of Surveyors, a rare honour.

In the late 1970s, with the impending creation of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, it was recognised that the mapping of the reef was limited.

Keith successfully led a deputation to Canberra to make the case that the private surveying sector in Queensland should be allowed to tender for the work and had capacity and expertise to complete it.

This led to a long association with the reef and to the completion of surveys of the Ribbon Reefs off Cooktown to the Floating Hotel at John Brewer Reef; of other reefs along the coast to tourist developments such as Magnetic Keys and Keith Williams' Hamilton Island.

In the 1980s Townsville was seeking to stimulate growth and add diversity. Keith was appointed Chairman of the Townsville Airport Committee which looked to pursue upgrades and access to international flights.

 

Keith Brazier with an award for the Great Barrier Reef Wonderland.
Keith Brazier with an award for the Great Barrier Reef Wonderland.

 

In the late 80s, he held the role of Secretary of the Great Barrier Reef Wonderland Committee that successfully lobbied for the construction of a major tourist attraction in the City. Along with other committee members, Col Harkness, Richard Ferry, John Lyons, David Carmichael and Brian Addison, to name a few, the Committee secured commitments that resulted in the development of the Aquarium in Townsville, innovatively supporting a live coral reef on our doorstep and attracting many.

Keith retired from Brazier Motti in 1994 however this did not slow his active contribution to his community.

The Ship that was sent to apprehend the mutineers of the Bounty, the HMS Pandora, struck a reef and sank in the Torres Straits in 1791.

Ben Cropp and the Museum of Queensland had finally found the wreck after years of searching.

The Government of the day decided that the City that could raise the funds for the recovery of the relics would win the right for the construction of the Museum of Tropical Queensland and the permanent housing of the Pandora Research Centre and display.

Unlike other Cities that thought they had the right, Townsville got to work. The then CEO of Townsville Enterprise, Richard Power, quickly formed the Pandora Foundation and Keith was recruited as Chair of Fund Raising.

They raised $2 million in five months from many local individuals, businesses and institutions. This led to the development of the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville. Following construction, Keith continued for a period as the North Queensland Community representative on the Board of the Museum.

Over recent years, he took delight in travelling all around Australia and visiting family and friends.

He valued his family and followed closely their adventures from long-terms stays to sharing letters and, more recently, facetiming.

Husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, Keith lived a long, interesting and productive life.

We owe a lot and are grateful for his legacy.

He is survived by wife Jennifer, children Lindy, Tim, Anna and Stephen and their families.

Originally published as Champion of the region dies aged 91


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