As Cedars Grow – The Bane Diaspora to Thornleigh

As Cedars Grow is the story of the young Baynie family who migrate to Australia in 1925 from Bane, a tiny village high in the mountains of Lebanon.  The story is told to Richard Broome by David Brown, the eldest son of Mary and Frank Brown and the eldest grandson of Anthony and Alma Baynie. The book charts their journey from Lebanon by ship to Australia, describing the many travails and wonderful support they encountered. On arrival at Circular Quay in Sydney, the Baynie family were supported by the Lebanese community living in Redfern, who at the time were known as The Syrian Warehouse Men of Redfern. After a short stay in the inner city, Anthony and Alma, with their two young daughters Emily and Deaby and heavily pregnant with their third child Mary, moved to the north side of the harbour to find a more permanent home of their own. Once the family were settled in Thornleigh, which is in the North West of Sydney, David describes how, through sheer hard work and determination, by all members of the Baynie family, not only did they prosper, but they were also responsible for the migration of thousands of Maronite Catholics from Bane to Australia.

In his book, As Cedars Grow, David shares with his readers, vivid, heartfelt and, at times, funny memories that demonstrate the exceptional altruistic works of the Baynie family and in particular, his mother Mary Brown. David will show that from the 1930’s to the late 1970’s, these new immigrants from Bane were not only given accommodation on arrival, but were also supported by the Baynie family to navigate the immigration process, access education and health services, secure employment and ultimately their own permanent home here in Australia.

There are over 9000 Australians in The Hills District who are descended from these chain migrations.