‘Life has been very kind to me’
IF MALCOLM Dixon hadn’t listened to his mother, things might have turned out very differently.
Growing up in Bundaberg, the Dixon Homes magnate says he was one of the only local players to beat Rod Laver when the tennis legend passed through town.
He had dreams of being a sporting star – but Gracie Dixon had more practical advice.
Mr Dixon was reminiscing about his mum when he stopped in at Gracie Dixon Respite Centre on Bourbong St, on a recent visit to his home town.
“You can’t eat tennis balls, love,” she said.
“Get yourself a trade.”
Luckily building was Malcolm’s other passion.
At four-years-old he got a kick out of hammering nails into the timber on the verandah of the Dixon home, a big old Queenslander on Woondooma St.
“As an apprentice when I was 19, I had to remove them all,” he recalled with a laugh.
Today he is the godfather of Dixon Homes, a construction empire with which he has built more than 25,000 houses across Queensland, and more across the country.
At 77, these days he is more focused in investing in philanthropy and new technologies – for now.
He and his business partner John Wharton had lunch with Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey, Cr Judy Peters and a host of other local identities, admiring the centre named after his mother. Mr Dixon said his altruism was inspired by her.
“Everyone called her Aunty Grace,” he said.
“She would taken people in off the street for tea.”
Mr Dixon says houses today are overpriced, and his goal is to provide affordable housing around Australia, especially for disadvantaged people, such as in Indigenous communities.
As he continues to travel and learn more about the world – most recently visiting Tesla in the US to witness cars powered by salt water – Mr Dixon is driven by what he feels is a duty to give back.
He is a benefactor of the Dalraida Foundation, which he says sponsors more than 4000 young people.
He prefers to keep fuss to a minimum and doesn’t promote his philanthropy.
It has been his ambition ever since he was proud to be able to set up his own father in retirement.
“When my father retired on his $15,000 after 50 years of teaching, I gave him a couple of rental homes,” he said.
“All I want to see is for people on the street to have a roof over their heads.
“Life has been very kind to me.
“I’ve been surrounded by all the right people.”