Ian walks away from desk

Engineer Ian de Bruyne has been project managing the redevelopment of the West Gippsland Arts Centre in Warragul as his final job before pre-retirement leave after 37 years with Narracan, Warragul and Baw Baw shires.

Engineer Ian de Bruyne has been project managing the redevelopment of the West Gippsland Arts Centre in Warragul as his final job before pre-retirement leave after 37 years with Narracan, Warragul and Baw Baw shires.

Some big changes – most for the good, some so-so and others not so good – are inevitable over a career with local shires spanning 37 years.

That has been the story for civil engineer Ian de Bruyne who will walk away from his desk at Baw Baw Shire at the end of next week to start pre-retirement leave.

But it has been a rewarding time starting at Narracan Shire in 1980, moving to Warragul Shire that was later re-branded Rural City of Warragul and then, with amalgamation of the Warragul, Narracan and Buln Buln shires, the Baw Baw Shire.

Gippsland was alien territory for him when he walked through the doors of the Narracan Shire office at Trafalgar for his job interview after driving from Myrtleford where he was working with the shire.

He recalls how different it was to today when moving to another shire.

“You had to either live in the shire or commit to live there” and, if it required a move as it did for Mr de Bruyne and his wife Anne, the shire would help find accommodation, he said.

That requirement soon became a bit of a test when Mrs de Bruyne was appointed to a teaching post at Neerim South, then regarded as a “remote area” by the Education Department, with an offer of subsidised rent much lower than they were paying at Trafalgar.


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