Vale Sir John Pidgeon: A Building Industry Giant


Australia has lost one of its most respected figures in construction and property development with the passing last week of Sir John Pidgeon.

Sir John, 89, was often referred to as the ‘Last Knight’, being the last person knighted following Mike Ahern’s Queensland government nomination for a knighthood in 1989 for his “significant contribution to the construction industry and to the community”. Tony Abbott reintroduced knighthoods for a time in 2014.

Pidgeon and his sister Valmai built FA Pidgeon and Son into the biggest Queensland construction and development company in the 1980s.

The company was established in 1927 by their father Frederick. John Pidgeon joined the company in 1946 after a period of time serving in the armed forces.

They expanded the company particularly in the hotel and commercial building market.

Many notable buildings in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast are lasting legacies of the business.

These include The Brisbane Club, Waterfront Place, Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane Transit Centre, The Suncorp Metway Building, Cathedral Square, Bank of Queensland Building, Broadbeach Monorail and the Oasis Shopping Centre and Hotel.

Known for privacy and being modest he once said, “Many times I’ve seen ego and greed contribute to the downfall of people and whole companies. Ego and greed always seem to go together.” John was very active in the wider community, notably with his support of the Surf Lifesaving Association, committee member of the Queensland cancer Fund, Chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, the Red Shield Appeal, as well as chairing the Queensland Master Builders Association, the Builders Registration Board, and subsequently becoming founding chairman of the Building Services Authority.

He was the recipient of the Queensland University of Technology’s Distinguished Constructor Award in 2002 and was inducted into the Construction Hall of Fame. The Sir John Pidgeon Sports Complex was opened at the Anglican Church Grammar School, where he was educated, in East Brisbane in 2010.

Waterfront Place at left with Eagle Street Pier riverside, Brisbane.[/caption] Broadbeach's monorail entering the Oasis Shopping Centre.[/caption]References, main image and video: State Library of Queensland,

Business Leaders Hall of Fame.

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