Having completed his Degree he
decided to travel overseas. With
some distant relatives in Australia,
he decided to come here first,
never imagining it would become his permanent country of residence.
Baard’s sister married a Dane and now lives on Denmark’s Jutland peninsula. One of his two brothers lives near Oslo and the other in Trondheim.
Baard has no memory of all this but his sister remembers it still.
When the war ended, Baard recalls that there was much euphoria and flag-waving. For the first month many Norwegians who had fled to Sweden to escape the Nazis returned by train. The local railway station was the first stop and the mayor was there to welcome the returning heroes together with a brass band and lots of flag-waving children, Baard among them on numerous occasions.
Between high school and university, Baard worked for one year at the Norwegian Steelworks. He then took up study at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration at Bergen University. Baard had also acquired a command of language other than Norwegian, his first language, during his education. He is fluent in English, passable in Spanish and German, and has a smattering of French, Swedish and Danish.
Baard was born in 1937 in a small company town in
Norway named Kopperå. His father was an engineer
working for a subsidiary of an American chemical
corporation which was the sole employer in the
He joined his older sibling, his sister Merete. No other
relatives lived in the area but they had some family
in Trondheim, some 100km away.
Baard recognises his father as the dominant influence
on him as he grew up.
He attended a small primary school in Kopperå and
later a junior school, mostly walking to school but
in winter he sometimes got there on cross-country
skis. For his high school education he travelled to
Trondheim and then on to Bergen for University.
He first married in 1962, and had two sons before the marriage ended in divorce.
He met Barbi in 1971 and they were married in 1974.
Baard has been very happy in Australia. He loves the lifestyle, the climate and the egalitarian culture. He has embraced Australian traditions such as having a barbecue in his back yard which is used in summer, follows Australian Rules and, in particular, the cricket.
His first impression of Melbourne was one of surprise at how it resembled an English village at the time, very different now he says.
He sums up the Camberwell Petanque Club in these three words - Wonderful friendly atmosphere. ⛔
His first job in Australia was with the National Australia Bank. After leaving the National Australia Bank, he joined an accounting firm which became a predecessor firm of Ernst & Young. He remained there for the rest of his working life.
Towards the end of this period, he was appointed Honorary Consul General of Norway and served in that capacity for a number of years.
Baard’s first car was a Standard Vanguard.
His sporting activities included skiing, skating, athletics and soccer.
Norway was occupied by Nazi Germany from 1940 to 1945. A German regiment resided in Kopperå for the whole period. Baard’s father was arrested and sent to a military camp in Germany for the last two years of the war.
When the Nazis invaded Norway in April 1940 Kopperå, being the last stop on the railway line before crossing the border into Sweden, was a potential bombing target. Baard’s father decided to evacuate him and his sister to a remote village some distance away. The evacuation took place under cover of darkness on skis with Baard, aged 3, in a sledge pulled by the family’s Alsatian dog, and his sister, aged 7, on skis. Baard’s father, Baard’s nanny and another local man skied with them. They arrived safe and well and spent the summer in that village before returning to Kopperå in the autumn when the fighting was over.
Baard with son and grandson.
Baard playing chess.