Barry was born in Wynnum on the 16th of August 1943 and attended Wynnum Central State School and Wynnum High School. He was taught the clarinet by Cliff Allott at the Queensland College of Music. He was a founding member of the Wynnum High School cadet unit and was the Pipe Band drum major. This was to prove prophetic as his later military career would show.
On leaving school in 1960 he joined the Queensland Justice Department and at this time he enlisted in the Citizen Military Forces in 1960 with the 1st Casualty Clearing Station later transferring to the Royal Australian Naval Reserve in 1963 where he was a member of the band at HMAS Moreton. He worked in the Magistrates court until he joined the Australian Regular Army as a member of the Northern Command Band in 1966. He became a Justice of the Peace for Queensland in June 1965.
Barry did a short tour of Vietnam in 1970 as part of Operation W.H.A.M. (Winning Hearts And Minds). The band toured throughout Vietnam to such places as Dat Do, Vung Tau, Saigon, the Mekong delta, Nui Dat, Da Lat, Da Nang and many other smaller towns and villages. At all of theses places the propaganda machine of the South Vietnamese army would do their thing to tell the people what good guys we were. A career of 20 years ensued and Barry served in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory and Canberra before retiring as a Warrant Officer Class One in 1986. As part of his career Barry was an instructor at the Army School of Music at Balcombe in Victoria from 1976 to 1979 and this period gave Barry his love of teaching.
On retiring from the Army in 1986 he became a registered schoolteacher in South Australia and was appointed the school bandmaster of Westminster School. He was also a visiting instrumental music teacher at both Scotch College and Immanuel Lutheran College He was also an instrumental music teacher with the South Australian education department.
During his time in Adelaide Barry was the Musical Director of the Noarlunga City Concert Band and The City of Brighton Concert Band. Under his baton the Noarlunga City Concert Band won both the summer and winter band championships which were held in Adelaide in 1987.
Following the death of Lyn, his wife of 25 years, in 1988 Barry remained in Adelaide until 1990 when he returned to Queensland living in Mount Coolum. Shortly after he met and married well-known Buderim resident Kay Grenfell and moved to Buderim.
Teaching was too hard to stay away from and Barry was appointed as the inaugural school bandmaster of Matthew Flinders Anglican College in 1990 and remained there until he was forced to retire in 1997 as a result of his war experiences in Vietnam. During this time Barry became an instrumental teacher with the Queensland Education Department and was responsible for commencing the Instrumental Music programmes at Yandina and Eumundi State Schools and at Sunshine Beach High School. He also taught instrumental music at Immanuel Lutheran College at Buderim.
Following his enforced retirement Barry felt that something was missing in his life and after talking to many of his ex-students he decided it was time that Buderim had its own concert band. With the support of Simon Whittle and the Buderim War Memorial Community Association (BWMCA) the fledgling band had its first rehearsal at Immanuel Lutheran College in February 1998. The band has since grown to about 40 members with ages ranging from 12 to 80 years. The band has quickly become an integral part of the cultural life of Buderim and performs at many functions on the Sunshine Coast. The band rehearses each Monday evening at the Siena Catholic College from 7.30p.m. to 9.30 p.m. New members are always welcome. Barry is recognized as the Founder and Patron of the band. Barry has recently trained the band as a marching unit to be used on ANZAC day, Australia day and Vietnam Veterans day.
Barry was also a volunteer with the Endeavour Foundation at Kunda Park. He taught adult cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome clients the art of daily cooking, cleaning, buying food, choosing recipes and washing up as part of the Independent Living Skills programme. This programme is used to determine whether or not the client is capable of living in a house with other clients as opposed to being in a supervised house.
One of the great joys for Barry and Kay is their extended family. Barry has three children Anthony, Bradley and Penny with their partners Colleen and Paula. Kay has two sons Richard and David Grenfell with Richard’s partner being Tracey and David’s Rene. Barry and Kay have 7 grandchildren Zac, Addison, Cara and Lachlan Rodgers and Jordan, Madeline and Lilli Grenfell. As you can imagine this makes for very special family gatherings.
Barry was an active member of the BWMCA and in addition to being a playing member and patron of the Buderim Concert Band he is a past member of the Anzac Day Committee and an office bearer in the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia, Sunshine Coast Sub- branch(VVAASC). Barry was Treasurer of this association for 3 years and a committee member for 7 years.
In 2003 Barry founded the Digger Hat Jewellery business which raises money for the welfare of all veterans who live on the Sunshine Coast. Teams of Vietnam Veterans come to Barry & Kays home once a month and press pre decimal coins into the shape of an army “Slouch Hat”. These are assembled into Key Rings, Pendants and Ear Rings. This merchandise is sold throughout Australia and generates income not only for the VVAASC but for many other ex service organisations such as RSL, War Widows, Legacy, Vietnam Veterans Federation and National Servicemen’s Association. Because of this work Barry was made a Life Member of the Vietnam Veterans Association of the Sunshine Coast Sub Branch.
With an old army mate ( Keith Walker) Barry formed the Sunshine Coast Retired Ex Armed forces Musicians (S.C.R.E.A.M.) Big Band. There are 25 retired armed forces musicians living on the Sunshine Coast and they meet once a month for a rehearsal (drink) and perform at various charitable events.
In 2008 Barry saw the need to provide more marching band capabilities for Anzac Day, Australia Day, Vietnam Veterans day and Remembrance Day. He is currently training Army, Navy and Air Force cadets and scouts each Thursday evening at the Maroochydore RSL Sub Branch rooms in Marching Drum Corps music. He hopes to attract such groups as Scouts, Guides, Venturers, church youth groups, schools and Police and Citizens Youth Clubs. It is his intention to provide a Marching Drum Corps for every RSL on the Sunshine Coast in the future.
In 2008 Barry realised a lifelong dream to sing in a choir when he joined the Buderim Male Choir. After 58 years of playing in bands Barry is developing his other instrument – his voice.
Barry lost his second wife, Kay on the 8th of May 2015 after a long illness. She was a beautiful person who was deeply involved in the Buderim community as the chairperson of the Atrium Gallery at the Buderim Craft Cottage. Gone but not forgotten.