I’m still growing up. I like the view. To see how things are turning out.
I had five different careers. I always used a job as a means of getting to a place that I wanted to live. I moved to Australia to get warm. I was born in Ottawa, Canada – but I lived everywhere. Winter of 1972 we had 66 consecutive days at 60 degrees below zero. So I made the decision to leave. I borrowed books from the library and it seemed to have the lifestyle I wanted. I wanted to sail and my dreams came true. They advertised for people to train as crew members, for racing. I put my name down and got selected. I went on the best boats with the best captains and crews and got taught all the skills. I just felt at one with the boat. Had some fantastic races. The best race was the first one I captained. I took the helm and commanded the boat and I just nailed it. It went perfectly. I was part of the America’s Cup the year they won. Australia II. I was the manager in charge of the promotions and advertising.
I was asked to present Alan Bond with the trophy for winning the challenger series at Port Philip Bay. ‘Just hand him the cup and go out for a beer’. Luckily I wore a sports jacket because when I got there, there’s about 300 people behind the tables and TV cameras and radio microphones and I had to get up and give a speech. I hadn’t done any homework. I started to talk and all of a sudden the audience quietens down and stares at me. They thought I was a spy. An American. So I changed what I was going to say and instead of something jingoistic I said, ‘the calibre of racing on Port Philip Bay showed the American’s that an entire nation is coming to get them’. And all the applause broke out. I was accepted. It felt good. One of the highlights from my life.
I moved to the North Coast of NSW. And I loved it here. Became a farmer. Raising beautiful Murray Grey Cattle, sheep and 6000 tropical stone fruit trees. Then I went blind for 3 years (very fast growing cataract - still undergoing treatment for it). I had to sell the farm. For example one day I went down a row of trees spraying, and the tractor hit a bump and stopped. I got out and walked around it and bumped into a telephone pole. I hadn’t seen the pole from the seat of the tractor.
So I started to teach at Southern Cross University. I became a lecturer for them for seven years. Business studies. Marketing. Management. Promotions. All the fun things. Then I developed Parkinson’s and I had to give up teaching. So now I’m just cruising with the motion. I’m still getting involved and enjoying life.
Barry is a very softly spoken, fascinating man, who is so proud of his daughters, saying they’re the best things that have happened in his life. His advice to anyone, at any age, is to get involved and be open to new things. Barry lives at the Feros Care village in Kingscliff.