Vale John Sydney Haines AM

Vale John Sydney Haines AM

Australian boatbuilding and fishing identity, John Sydney Haines AM, CEO and founder of The Haines Group has passed away at the age of 72.

It was in 1960, as a young Queenslander with a passion for water skiing and boat racing that John (Hainsey to his mates) built his first fibreglass speedboat. By developing a new standard of safe, comfortable and user-friendly boats, John and brother Garry helped bring boating to the masses in Australia.

John Haines created the designs of a whole range of boats that have taken literally millions of Australians to sea and back safely. For more than 50 years, The Haines Group said his boats have provided the benchmarks for the safety and performance standards in Australia’s boating industry.

“Countless Australians have gone boating in a Haines Hunter or a Haines Signature safely and happily, deriving great benefit from all the joys and healthy attributes Australia’s unique boating lifestyle supports,” said the company in a press release.

Throughout his life, John Haines also played a dynamic role in numerous powerboat racing events, and won just about every major offshore and inshore racing event on the Australian powerboat racing calendar. These include such well-known events as the original Sydney-Newcastle races, the Cairns-Gold Coast Pacific 1000, Bridge to Bridge Ski-Races on the Hawkesbury River, and countless other state and national titles.

“The 1979 Pacific 1000 was John’s favourite victory. Not only was it one of the most gruelling and testing powerboat races, but it ran off the coast of his beloved Queensland,” said The Haines Group.

There is no doubt his racing success impacted on the reputation his pleasure boats enjoyed with the public, as Haines used the racing program as his R&D laboratory for the best part of 30 years.

Over the years, John Haines won countless awards for his work in the Australian boating industry, such as the Australian Boat Of The Year Award no less than 34 times, and been either Runner Up or a Class Winner on many other occasions.

“He was recipient of the Australian Design Award on several occasions, and has stood on countless committees in the development of Australian boating safety and performance standards. His work in this field is unparalleled,” said The Haines Group.

In 2003, he was awarded the honour of member of the Order of Australia, becoming John Sydney Haines AM — this is said to have ranked as one of the proudest moments of his life.

Between 1960 and present day, tens of thousands of new boats have emerged from the Haines Group factory, said the company adding, that even when the success of Haines Hunter attracted admiration from overseas interests in the 1970s, which eventually saw John and brother Garry forced out of their own company in 1980, it could not dampen John’s spirit.

“In 1984 and against the odds John started again, ironically, in opposition to the company — Haines Hunter — that still carried his family name. With the new brand-name Haines Signature and a loyal dealer network, John Haines started the process of building the new business back up to the top,” said The Haines Group.

“By 1988 he was again building the top selling trailerboat brand in Australia — a position Signature has arguably held ever since.
John was particularly happy at that time to have also bought back the Haines Hunter factory after Hunter went in to administration.

John created the new home for Signature on the same site where The Haines Group (Signature, Traveller, Seafarer, Suzuki, Nautique & Walker Bay) still resides today,” his company said.

John stepped back from the day-to-day running of The Haines Group three years ago passing it on to his son’s John and Greg.

“John’s happiest moments have been to share his passion for boating with the boating public knowing how many thousands upon thousands of people have been on the water in his boats,” said The Haines Group.

“John Haines’ career in boatbuilding was distinguished by five decades of hard work, but through it all, he remained a passionate advocate for Australian boatbuilding and manufacturing. He also displayed great leadership qualities in that his grit and determination have inspired his colleagues, race fans, customers and friends.

“It is as ‘Hainsey’ that many will remember John Haines AM, most likely as a boatbuilder, raceboat driver, employer or friend. But John will be remembered as a grandad who adored his grandchildren and as a devoted father and husband,” the company said.

John leaves wife Alida, sons John Jnr and Greg, daughter-in-law Belinda, and grandchildren Alixandra and Zara.

The funeral will be at 3pm on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at
353 Wacol Station Road, Sumner Park, Qld.

The Haines family respectfully requests that no flowers be sent.
All donations to be made to the palliative care section of the
(details below) to assist them with their incredible, selfless work.
The Haines family would like to openly thank these amazing people.

Palliative Care Unit,
Po Box
499, Toowong, QLD, 4066
or phone Ray Crompton on (07) 3232 7166

Photos: Greg Haines, John
Sydney Haines AM and John Haines Jnr;
A younger John Haines
would go on to shape the Australian recreational boatbuilding industry; John
Sydney Haines AM; John Haines raced boats and
utilised the R&D from them for his recreational boatbuilding business; John Haines racing in the early days; John Haines was also
avid angler;
That's a young John Haines on the left accepting one of many
sport awards; Another John Haines raceboat;
Haines and one of his two grand-daughters.