Past Maleny Library stalwart honoured for tireless dedication
  • Wednesday 18 May 2022
Image peg Burnett, Maleny Library, plaque

Beloved Sunshine Coast hinterland icon Peg Burnett’s (1915-2007) legacy has been formally recognised, with a new plaque installed in her memory at Maleny Library.

Sunshine Coast Council Division 5 Councillor Winston Johnston today (May 18) joined library staff and locals to reveal the garden plaque and celebrate Peg’s contribution.   

“Peg was a true stalwart of Maleny, working tirelessly both formally and informally for the benefit of her community,” Cr Johnston said.  

“She spent much of her life servicing and restoring the library, continuing the work of her own mother who was instrumental in establishing the first Maleny library, applying to the School of Arts headquarters in Ann Street, Brisbane for assistance.

“The original library opened in the annex of the Maleny School of Arts Hall in Maple Street, Maleny in 1932.”

Cr Johnston said Peg took over from the first librarian, Betty Blacklaw, and managed the library until her marriage to Rixon Burnett in 1939.

Rixon Burnett was elected to Landsborough Shire Council in 1955.

“Peg is known to have said ‘married women didn’t work then’ but her marriage did not end her involvement with the library or the community,” Cr Johnston said.

“In 1951, a fire gutted the building, and the hall was rebuilt on the same site and renamed the Maleny Community Centre.

“Peg raised money for the Library by renting out books from a small collection saved from the fire and the funds raised allowed her to buy new books to rebuild the library catalogue.

“This is just one example of her extraordinary dedication to Maleny, its people and this library.

“Our community is a strong and thriving heart of the hinterland thanks to people like Peg, and I hope this plaque serves as a reminder to all of the great benefits of community service.”   

Peg returned to volunteer and manage the library until 1978.

In the 1990s, the Maleny Fruit Barn, then adjacent to Tesch Park, on Coral Street, was bought by the then Caloundra City Council and refurbished to become the new library.

A car park was added in 1997 when the adjacent Maleny Meats was demolished.

The present-day Library was officially opened on 1 May 1998.

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Did you know? Sunshine Coast Libraries offer more than just books! Take advantage of our:

• Many hosted events and programs
• Community-use podcast studio
• Online resources, including the eLibrary where members can borrow, download and stream books, films, magazines, music and more all for free
• Story Seats, located in 10 of the region’s most stunning local parks which incorporate children’s stories into the seats’ designs for families to enjoy
• Adult Literacy program, which has taught thousands of residents how to read and write.

 Image: (l-r) Cr Winston Johnston, Ricky Thomas (Peg’s daughter), David Burnett (Peg’s son).