Where it all began

Chapter One

Our story starts with Celestino Baiada, who moved from Malta to Australia as a 14-year-old boy. Left alone to start a new life, a quiet but determined Celestino went to work, knowing there would be opportunities ahead. It could be said that his name somewhat determined his destiny; ironically enough, the Maltese occupational name ‘bajjad’ means ‘egg-seller’.

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From Celestino to Charlie

On arrival in Australia, Celestino’s father found work with NSW railways in Lithgow, leaving Celestino to lodge and work in Sydney. He worked as a kitchen hand for just 15 shillings a week. Gifted with an acute business mind from an early age, it wasn’t long before he realised if you do a man’s work, you get a man’s pay and so he negotiated his wage to 25 shillings a week. Of course, entry into the Australian workforce did not come without a nickname. From then on, Celestino was known as Charlie.

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A taste for property

Charlie’s first property purchase was a parcel of land at Pendle Hill in Western Sydney. It was Lot 2 of his father’s Old Prospect Hill Road land. He paid a sum of £400 and was described as a poultry farmer on the land document.

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Marriage and family

On 23 June 1928, Charlie married the love of his life. At the time, Giovanna – fondly known as Ganna – was just 16 and had also migrated from Malta. The couple went on to have seven children and were married for 55 years before Charlie passed away in November 1983.

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An accumulation of land

The Depression started to lift and Charlie saw an opportunity to take advantage of the slow but consistent economic recovery to increase his land holdings. By the second half of the decade, he was on a roll both buying and selling property.

Those who are not prepared to put in effort cannot expect to be successful.