A Williamstown mainstay for about 60 years, Brian Haynes fell in love with the area and discovered that the town’s old buildings tell the story and heritage of the town. He told Matthew Sims that he continues to explore his many passions, including gymnastics and caravanning.
What is your connection to Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay?
I’ve lived in Williamstown for almost 60 years and I walk and exercise in my town several times a day looking for interesting things to put on a Facebook page that I run – “Williamstown – Past and Present”. My early childhood was spent in the narrow streets of Richmond, which allowed me to appreciate the wide open spaces and the diversity of landscapes that Williamstown offers.
What do you like where you live?
As a local historian, I love researching our unique and varied Williamstown history. I found quite a few buildings from the 1850s whose history was not known. Williamstown still has hundreds of surviving structures from the 1850s and 1860s, and the list keeps growing as I research. A special group for me are our bluestone houses, of which we still have over 50 left. A number of local history books are also in the works – someday.
How has your passion for the west influenced your life and work?
I am a life member and past president of the Williamstown Historical Society. I have been a member of the Williamstown Historical Society for over 42 years. Being retired gives me more opportunities to follow my varied hobbies and activities, which also include caravanning and travelling. I have been involved in the sport of gymnastics since 1961 and have been coaching in the western suburbs since 1992. I still judge competitions and attend my local gymnastics club, Lifestyle For Kids, on Champion Road.
What’s your favorite local place to hang out?
There are so many special areas in Williamstown, but a favorite, perhaps a little morbid to some, is the historic Williamstown Cemetery, where so many of our first citizens now reside. I have just led a few walks through the cemetery, where we visited the resting places of our first convicts in the cemetery. Our other favorite spots include our Botanical Gardens, Coastline, and Hidden Alleys and Alleys.
Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.
I am twin. There’s a small chance we got mixed up as babies, so maybe my real name could be Bruce. I answer both.