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Happy, successful: portrait of Allison

Allison Baden-Clay
Allison Baden-Clay QT file image

THE discovery of Allison Baden-Clay's body in Kholo Creek this week confirmed the worst fears of her friends and family.

Police now know the 43-year-old former beauty queen and business woman was murdered before her body was dumped in a creek north-east of Ipswich.

The circumstances of her death have shocked all who knew the mother of three in her home suburb of Brookfield and in Ipswich, where she was raised.

Detectives say they are close to an arrest. Yesterday, Allison's husband, Gerard Baden-Clay, and their three daughters visited Allison's parents, who now live on the Gold Coast.

Allison grew up in Ipswich, living with her parents Geoff and Priscilla Dickie in Spencer St, Redbank, where neighbours still fondly remember her.

In April 2000, Queensland Times journalist Jayde Walker interviewed Allison and found her to be thoughtful, optimistic and adventurous.

Allison was working in Brisbane after a whirlwind career since leaving Ipswich Girls' Grammar School, where she was vice-head girl.

"One thing I try to work on is living in the moment. I think sometimes it's a very difficult thing to do," Allison said at the time.

The story said Allison's appetite for travel was whet as a 10-year-old at Redbank State School. An inaugural member of the Australian Youth Ballet, she toured the UK, including the Edinburgh Festival.

Returning to school, Allison fuelled her passion for more travel by learning French and German.

A few years later she went to Scandinavia on a Rotary exchange program, where schooling was different to the same-sex regime.

Allison laughed at the memory: "Scandinavia was completely different. There's drinking and smoking at school. And there were all these boys around," she said.

Returning home a year later, Allison enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts course at the University of Queensland, learning Japanese and majoring in psychology.

After graduation, she had a short stint as a Japanese translator on Heron Island, and then started as a consultant at Flight Centre in Brisbane.

Her success there resulted in her being appointed a year later as manager of the Ipswich Flight Centre branch.

In her spare time, she raised more than $13,000 for charity and was crowned Miss Brisbane. She also was named Ipswich Young Business Woman of the Year.

"It was a good process. They judged you on personal attributes as well as business and what you'd done for Ipswich and the business community," Allison said.

"They really do work hard to promote Ipswich and, in particular, women in Ipswich."

From Ipswich, she headed back to Brisbane to take the role of Flight Centre's Queensland manager for human resources.

A year later, the then 27-year-old was promoted to global human resources manager, responsible for more than 3000 employees worldwide.

During this period, Allison met Gerard, who was the national manager for 24 Hour Flights.

He offered to fix her computer and she sheepishly admitted to having lots of computer problems.

Their honeymoon turned into a working holiday that ended in Switzerland. Flight Centre called them back to Australia, with Allison taking the role of staff recruiter and trainer and Gerard becoming assistant director.

Ms Walker's story said Allison was "filled with bright prospects when considering her future".

"At the moment, I'm at a fairly transitional period in my life," she said. "I've always had goals and this is the next big step. It's a strange time; it's been good to just sit back and have the time - and then be able to say which direction to go in."

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