september 9th 2015 by Cameron Atfield.
About 120 people at Pilpel by the Sea, at Suttons Beach, mingled with the sole surviving Bee Gee ahead of the culmination of the Redcliffe Festival on Friday, at which the second phase of Bee Gees Way would be revealed.
Gibb said he had just come from an "experience of a lifetime" with Moreton Bay mayor Allan Sutherland – "how do you get from a big boat to a little boat?" he asked rhetorically – so it was perhaps fortunate he was at Suttons Beach at all.
Remembering the view to Moreton Island as a child... Barry Gibb, back on the Peninsula this week. Photo: Chris Hyde"We had some time on Moreton Island," Gibb said.
Advertisement"Fifty-seven years ago, I used to stare at Moreton Island and I think anyone here who's anywhere close to my age probably did the same thing.
"You couldn't go there – that was out of the question – but I always called it Bali Ha'i, I still call it Bali Ha'i, because it was a mystery.
The Bee Gees in 1979: from left, Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb and Maurice Gibb.
"We were a typical immigrant family out of Manchester and the shock of our lives was to suddenly be in paradise."
Gibb's public reconnection with Redcliffe came in the wake of the deaths of his brothers, Robin and Maurice.
Cr Sutherland said Moreton Bay Regional Council's push to recognise the Gibb family came after he connected with Barry shortly after Robin's death in 2012.
"When Maurice passed away there was still two Bee Gees, but I think the world stopped when Robin passed away," he said.
"All of a sudden, the Bee Gees were the Bee Gee."
Cr Sutherland said the creation of Bee Gees Way, which opened in 2013, was about celebrating the Gibbs' legacy, both locally and globally.
"Over in Perth, you've got Bon Scott," he said.
"Up in Seattle, you've got the rock museum there. But here are the Bee Gees, with five decades of inspiration, and they had not one piece of recognition in the world.
"…They started here, so why can't we respect what they've achieved over five decades?
"I think it's been great for Barry, who knows his brothers have been respected now."
A lot has changed in Redcliffe since the young Bee Gees first started performing around town, where they were famously discovered by DJ Bill Gates at the Redcliffe Speedway.
The recent demolition of the Filmer's Palace Hotel at Woody Point, for example, left a notable hole.
The Bee Gees had some of their first gigs at the Palace, for which publican Mavis Filmer, who died in 2003, paid them with bottles of Coca-Cola.
"It's sad," Gibb told Fairfax Media.
"But the speedway's still there and the house at Scarborough is still there, so there are still plenty of memories."
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk attended the reception and said the state could be proud of its most successful musical export.
"I grew up, as I think most Queensland families did, listening to the Bee Gees," she said.
"Their music has been inspirational and to think how far our music industry has come in Queensland, and the fact that Barry can be a role model for so many children living not just in Redcliffe but across the state, that you can achieve your dreams."
Cr Sutherland said stage two of Bee Gees Way, which would be unveiled on Friday, would increase tourism to the region.
Already, he said, Bee Gees Way had been a boon for local businesses.
"In the early days, we got a complaint to council that there were no parking spaces for tourist buses," Cr Sutherland said.
"But we know from the restaurants along that front strip, they'll tell you it's make a huge difference."
Cr Sutherland played his cards close to his chest when alluding to what stage two of Bee Gees Way would entail.
"Anyone who doesn't see it when the sun's down will be missing a very important experience," he said.