Past Maleny Library stalwart honoured

Peg Burnett from official opening of Maleny Library 1 May 1998

THE legacy of beloved Sunshine Coast hinterland icon, Peg Burnett (nee McLean) was formally recognised, with a new plaque recently installed in her memory at Maleny Library.
Library staff and locals joined together last Wednesday, May 18, to reveal the garden plaque and celebrate Peg’s contribution to the community.
The celebration was also attended by Sunshine Coast Council Division 5 Councillor Winston Johnston who shared that Peg was a true stalwart of Maleny, “working tirelessly both formally and informally for the benefit of her community”.
Peg, who passed away in 2007, 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 first opened in 1932, in the annex of the Maleny School of Arts Hall in Maple Street, and later Peg took over from the first librarian, Betty Blacklaw, managing the library until her marriage to Rixon Burnett in 1939.
“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.
After a fire gutted the building in 1951, the hall was rebuilt on the same site and renamed the Maleny Community Centre.
Cr Johnston shared that 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,” he said.
“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.

Main image: Cr Winston Johnston, Ricky Thomas (Peg’s daughter), David Burnett (Peg’s son)