Macquarie Raiders life member Barry Perry passes away, aged 83

REMEMBERED: Barry Perry (right) with son Michael and the late Perry Meredith, his
grandson, in 2012. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
REMEMBERED: Barry Perry (right) with son Michael and the late Perry Meredith, his grandson, in 2012. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Barry Perry has been remembered as a greatly respected figure and someone who will leave a lasting legacy after passing away earlier this week.

Barry passed away peacefully at his home on Tuesday night at the age of 83.

A club legend at the Macquarie Raiders, Barry was a larrikin who people were drawn to, whether it was at home, at the footy, the races, or the saleyards during his long and successful working life.

A straight-shooter who told it like it was, ‘Baz’ was never afraid to have a go at someone and give his opinion.

However, it was never in an offensive manner and more often than not rugby league players, co-workers, family and friends would use Barry’s opinion as a measuring stick for whatever it was they were doing in life.

Born in 1934 as the youngest of eight children, Barry left school barely after turning 14 and soon started his first job as a fitter and turner with Buddens Brothers before becoming continuing as a fitter and machinist with Repco.

Barry always loved rugby league and represented Dubbo before making the move to Sydney in 1956 and linking with Western Suburbs.

A tough-as-nails front-rower, an unfortunate broken ankle shortly into his time in the city led him to return home.

It was then when Les Dodd took him to Dubbo CYMS and one of the many great tales from Barry’s life, and an important one, occurred there.

When asked what this new player was, Dodd answered he was a front-rower. However, those involved with CYMS were asking in terms of religion and when Barry bluntly told them hew wasn’t Christian it led him to look elsewhere.

He soon become part of Dubbo Macquarie after the club was formed in 1958.

Barry went on to become part of what arguably remains the Raiders’ finest side, winning the premiership in 1959 and claiming the famed Clayton Cup as the best club in country footy.

That side was coached by Leo Nosworthy, who went on to coach Balmain to a historic title in 1969 and was mates with Barry for the rest of his life, while he played alongside a number of future Australian players.

Barry also coached the Macquarie juniors to the title in 1959 while his seniors outfit won three straight premierships.

It was during these years when he met Mary Ruby Wilson, and the pair were married and had four children, Elizabeth, Michael, Margaret and Dianne.

Barry spent roughly 20 years playing for Macquarie but his involvement with the club never ended and the sight of he and his much-loved Mary became part of every matchday experience.

He was named a life member of the club in 2013, one of the few times he was left speechless, and continued to attend Macquarie games and training sessions well after that.

NIGHT TO REMEMBER: Barry Perry (centre) at Macquarie's presentation in 2013, where he was named a life member of the club. Photo: FILE

NIGHT TO REMEMBER: Barry Perry (centre) at Macquarie's presentation in 2013, where he was named a life member of the club. Photo: FILE

No matter if the Raiders were playing home or away, Baz found someone to talk to and was known at the gate not just at every ground in Group 11, but many further afield as well.

And while his presence may not have been at every match in recent years, his legacy certainly was.

Son Michael has been a Macquarie premiership winner and board member while son-in-law Mark and his brother Guy have also been heavily involved in the club.

As well as that, the colours of Macquarie have been worn by his grandchildren, including another premiership winner in Perry Meredith.

The son of Liz and Mark was adored by his grandfather however, in truth, Barry was never quite the same after Perry’s death in November of 2016.

And while this passing has been another terribly bitter pill for the family to swallow, there is great comfort in the fact grandfather and grandson will be reunited next week when Barry is laid to rest with Perry.

He will be remembered not only as a family man and old school gentleman who didn’t swear in front of his daughters or have disagreements with his wife, but also as one of the blokes who loved a punt and a beer.

The saleyards became his domain in the 1960s. After buying his first table top truck and carrying stock, he noticed an opportunity and a need for stock to be fed at the Dubbo Saleyards.

With the help of Neville Honeysett, Barry built a hay shed at the saleyards and this quickly turned out to be a prosperous decision.

He thrived on the tough manual labour, getting his family involved for many years, and some mates were even left offended when they didn’t get asked to help out in the gruelling, long days.

After work, or any footy training session or match, Barry would love nothing more than a few beers, and he became a regular at the South Dubbo Tavern. There he could be found in his Macquarie jersey, selling raffle tickets or just mixing with players young and old, telling them they shouldn’t be at the pub without their Raiders colours on.

Before Apex Oval came along Barry could be found sitting on the same step at No. 1 Oval every weekend, often throwing sums of money around in the days when betting on bush footy games was all the rage.

Not surprisingly, that meant racing was another passion and Barry spent time as a bookmaker, again dragging his kids and family all over the countryside to help out and hold on to the money.

It was later, in 1995, Barry bought what many refer to the love of his life, ‘Waitara’, his own small farming land.

His land brought Barry much joy late in life and he would be still heading out to the property until his final days.

Those who could tell a tale about Baz are now stretched far and wide and the writer of this piece is just one of the countless who has been told firsthand how things should be.

Whether it be sitting in the media box at Apex Oval and saying how a report on a Raiders’ win or loss should be written or asking for a ghost column in the Daily Liberal to say how things really were, Barry’s opinions always brought a smile.

He would go to Raiders’ training sessions – rain, hail or shine – and give the players what-for, and while some may have tried to avoid his opinion at first, everyone ended up listening and taking it onboard in one way or another.

He will remain a loved figure at the club, and in the wider community, for a long time to come and the club will also stay with him as he will be laid to rest in his Macquarie colours.

Barry Perry will be farewelled at 11am on Wednesday, June 13, at St Andrew’s Church on Wingewarra St.

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