Vale Fred Hyde

9 November 2016
Fred in Bangladesh

Fred in Bangladesh

I would like to pay tribute to a truly great man, Fred Hyde, AM, who passed away peacefully this week at the age of 96.

Beaconhills College has had a long association with Fred and his charity organisation COID (Co-operation in Development), which builds schools and kindergartens in one of the poorest and remote areas of Bangladesh.

This extraordinary man first visited our College in 1994 and, since then, we have worked with CO-ID to support its work in Bhola Island, Bangladesh. Our collections through the eight House church services, the annual Run for Bangladesh and fundraising through Little Beacons has helped build two schools and a kindergarten in the region. This support will continue into the future.

Fred last visited Beaconhills in 2010 where he met with students and celebrated his 90th birthday. His warmth and ability to connect with students and their respect and admiration for him was evident to all during that wonderful time.

And of course six of our students, accompanied by teachers Mark Tory and Yvonne Ashmore, were lucky enough to visit Bangladesh in 2012 to see first-hand Fred’s success in improving educational opportunities for children on Bhola Island.

Our College archivist/historian John Waterhouse knew Fred well and continues to serve on the CO-ID committee. Here are his reflections on Fred’s passing:

“It is hard to speak of Fred in the past tense, but he was one of Australia’s greatest fighters. He fought throughout almost the whole of World War II, in the Kokoda Trail and in the Middle East, and as soon as he had accumulated enough wealth to live out his life, he turned to fighting poverty. He spent almost 40 years, from the age of 57, working in India and Bangladesh, in the latter setting up a network of 41 schools in some of the most impoverished parts of the world…mud islands that Australians would consider almost uninhabitable. He lived hard: sleeping under the stars, out in the open during cyclones, no hot water, no electricity, no telephone, and eating the same meagre meals as the people around him. He set up one of the nation’s largest educational charities with one of the smallest annual budgets, and the impact of ‘Fred’s way of doing things’ will be felt for many years to come. Not just one of Australia’s greats, but one of the planet’s special people.”

John Waterhouse and I will attend Fred Hyde’s funeral in his home town of Warwick, Queensland on Thursday 17 November. Plans for a memorial service on an upcoming weekend are underway with times and dates yet to be advised.

Meantime, if you wish to donate to CO-ID you can do so here.

Rest in peace, Fred. A great man. A great life.

Beaconhills' initial fundraising committee for Bangladesh in 1995

Beaconhills’ initial fundraising committee for Bangladesh in 1995

Fred's 90th birthday celebrations at the College in 2010

Fred’s 90th birthday celebrations at the College in 2010

Children in Bhola Island during our students' 2012 visit

Children in Bhola Island during our students’ 2012 visit


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    Dr Olav Muurlink23 November 2016Reply

    Thanks Tony for sharing this, and thank you so much for making the time to come up to Warwick to attend Fred’s funeral. It was a very moving event, and, strange to say, sorry that Fred wasn’t there to see it–and you. Olav.

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    Barry Davies21 February 2017Reply

    I met Fred Hyde when I worked in Bangladesh a few years ago, he worked in a very remote location and lived in simple conditions, I was impressed by his warmth and kindness, he had just come from the hospital for a check up and he apologized for keeping me waiting, it was an humbling experience and I was deeply moved by his work and upset when I heard that we had lost this remarkable man, one of Australia’s finest, regards & respect to his legacy and organization. Barry, now working on Tristan a Cunha Island, the south Atlantic

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