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“PARADE WAS THE INSPIRATION” – A TRIBUTE TO THE LATE BARRY JAMISON

Barry Jamison, a final year student of Parade’s Class of 1952, and a Senior Partner of Jamison Alliott (the chartered accountancy firm he founded 53 years ago) has died at the age of 86.

News of Barry’s passing on July 4 was conveyed to the Association by his daughter Su Jamison, who also forwarded an extensive series of life stories compiled by Barry some years ago.

“With a family of girls, Dad felt some of his stories fell on deaf ears (but) in reality we loved them,” Su said.

“His face would always light up when talking of Parade and hearing from any of his Old Paradian chums. Dad’s niece by marriage married a not so old Paradian named David Gilbert (1974) and there was an instant bond. They would sing the school song whenever they got together."

Su said that Barry’s old College contemporaries Brian Somers, Laurie Wakeling and Len Smith had all made contact to offer their condolences. “What special friendships! . . . and Parade was the inspiration,” she said.

With Su’s permission, some of Barry’s reminiscences, originally recorded for members of his family, are included in the following tribute.

 

Barry Robert Jamison was born in the Queen Victoria Hospital on Lonsdale Street in Melbourne on February 26, 1935. Home was initially 32 Barry Street, East Melbourne - the place at which Barry’s parents Robert and Phyllis Jamison had lived from the time of their marriage – and later a little single-fronted semi­detached brick house at 6 Leithead Street, North Brunswick.

Barry attended Kindergarten before moving up to St Margaret Mary’s Primary School. He remembered going to the trenches in the vacant block opposite for drill just in case of a Japanese air raid during the war.

When Barry turned ten, he was part of the school choir taught by Stefan Haag OBE. Stefan was one of the original members of the touring Vienna Mozart Boys Choir stranded in Perth in 1939 at the outset of the war with Germany. Archbishop Mannix arranged for all of the boys to be fostered by Melbourne families. Similar to Barry, they were all educated at Parade. One of them, Walter, became a friend through the Old Paradians’ Association lunches. At one such lunch, the then 80 year-old Walter related the story of how he had cried himself to sleep every night duringthose sad times.

Of those who were part of St Margaret Mary’s entire choir, Barry was selected by Stefan to sing solo at the upcoming Christmas Function. This was ‘Shall We Track Along Together’, a Dutch song which Barry still sang until recently (in Dutch as well!).

Barry then became an Altar Boy, and eventually the chief Altar Boy, at St Margaret Mary’s church. When the children received confirmation, he was chosen to take the oath on their behalf that they would not drink alcohol until they were at least twenty-five (a pledge Barry believed most of them broke!).

Barry and several other children were chosen by a Sister of Mercy Nun to sit for a Diocesan Scholarship, by way of a Special Training School at Moonee Ponds called St Kieran’s. St. Kieran’s prepared Catholic children to sit for the Victoria Government Scholarship which provided five years of secondary education.

At 15, Barry met a young boy from St Margaret Mary’s named Barry Saunders who suffered from polio (an infectious disease in epidemic proportions in those times) and was often ferried to school on a wooden bed. Later on, Barry and Laurie would spend time riding their bicycles around the suburb and going to the baths. Barry got sunburnt quite often, and he paid for this in the year 2000 when it was discovered he had a melanoma on his back – a consequence of lying directly in the sun at the Brunswick Baths in his teenage years.

Barry eventually won the Government Scholarship - the only person in his classroom to have earned a scholarship from St Kieran’s - and crossed to CBC Parade. At Parade, he became part of a split class with scholarship boys from St Colman’s in Fitzroy and an additional class comprising younger students progressing though the school under normal circumstance.

To get to Parade, Barry had to walk roughly 400 meters, board the tram at East Brunswick into La Trobe Street, and catch an additional tram from La Trobe Street to Victoria Parade. He remembered Archbishop Mannix’s daily walk from Raheen to St Patrick’s at around morning tea time. The Archbishop, complete with red line coat and top hat, would time his walk along Victoria Parade to talk to the boys waiting at the fence when he passed.

Because Barry lived in a working class area, the school cap seemed a little unusual, so he kept it in his pocket until he got to the school. However, he was caught out by a Prefect on the tram one day, and issued with a penalty of five hundred lines - ‘I must wear my cap to school’. But as Barry had pre-arranged to head out that night, he somehow managed to convince his father into writing the five hundred lines for him – and at a class reunion years later he was the only former student who came armed with his school cap!

In the early years at Parade, Barry was selected to represent the school’s swimming team at Richmond Baths, where he had trained for some time under the watch of Tom Donnet (whose daughter Jenny later became an Olympic diver). At the time, Barry’s father Robert cut material for women’s bathers at the clothing factory where he worked and decided to create white stretch bathers for Barry to wear into competition. Unfortunately, the material had been untried, and as Barry dived in and made his way down the pool, the bathers fell around his ankles much to his embarrassment - and he ended up finishing last in the race.

Barry took on several jobs - one of them splitting wood for a very cheap price, another working for the local grocery store where he would serve behind the counter and deliver to local customers. He developed a secret technique in extracting football cards from breakfast food packages, where one could slip the edge of the card’s cellophane wrapping, remove the appropriate card and replace it with another that one no longer wanted.

Barry also served as a copyboy at The Herald & Weekly Times newspaper office in the city, running copy from the reporters to the typesetters, the editor and the printers by the machines. Of a Saturday evening, Barry would come home armed with several free copies of The Sporting Globe.

Whilst Barry was at school, he worked up to be a Corporal in the Air Training Corp, and later a Sergeant in Army Cadets. He was an average sportsman who played with the school football team, he ran for the athletics outfit, and he was a general all-rounder for Cleary, whose House colours were blue.

Parade College Cadets, 1951. Sgt. Barry Jamison stands in the second row, far right.  

Barry experienced one bad moment during House sports. He borrowed the jumping spikes of Peter Box, a champion long jumper (now deceased), and competed in the hop, step and jump with very little experience. As a result, he spiked himself in the left calf and suffered an extremely painful wound that later became septic - and he carried the scar for the rest of his life.

Towards the end of his leaving class, Barry attended a Catholic Ladies’ College dance at Brunswick Street’s Cathedral Hall. Barry benefited from the fact that his mother was an extremely good dancer who had taught him ballroom dancing for some time, and as none of the other boys were capable of this, he went out and danced with a girl named Lorlene Cross. Barry and Lorlene turned in outstanding performances on the parquetry floor, so much so that the senior Brother summoned Barry’s mother and father to school to tell them that their son must be spending far too much time socialising at dances (despite this not being the truth).

Form V, 1951. Barry stands in the second row, third from the left.

On leaving the College, Barry joined the Old Paradians Football Club and played for another two seasons in B Grade Amateur competition. At this time, he was courting Elaine (his wife-to-be), who with Margaret Coffey (now deceased) would attended the matches and knit through the quarters.

Barry’s decision to leave Parade was based on an advertisement posted on the notice board to work with an old English Chartered Accountant named George Anderson of Anderson Hodgson, at 360 Collins Street.

On July 1, 1968, Barry established his practice (Barry R. Jamison, Chartered Accountant) in McKillop Street, in what was a small one-roomed workplace opposite the offices of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. It was at the Institute that he first met Elaine Coghlan.

Years later, Barry’s firm relocated to a newer premises on Level 30 in Nauru House. The office commanded magnificent views across Collins Street to the gardens – views eventually taken out by the Regent Hotel and ANZ office buildings.

Barry Jamison was a Fellow of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia; the Australian Society of CPAs; The Australian Institute of Company Directors; and The Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia. He was also an Associate of The Chartered Institute of Secretaries and The Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia.

As Member of the Council of Deakin University he chaired both the Audit Committee and The Bowater Trust; and was a Director of the Green Cross Project Inc., a provider of medical assistance to Homeless Youth.

Barry was also a Member of the World Management Committee of Alliott Group, an International Group of Chartered Accountants, for over 20 years including Chairman for three years. He served as Chairman of the Sisters of Charity Health Service Council in Victoria which included Chairmanship of St Vincent’s Hospital (Melbourne) Limited; St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne Limited, Caritas Christi Hospice Limited and Prague House Limited. He also officiated as a Board Member of The Sisters of Charity Health Service Limited in Australia which controlled 17 facilities, and a Board Member of the Australian Brain Foundation, both statewide and nationally.

Along the way, Barry was recognised as a Knight of the Order of St Lazarus and a Knight of The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and was the recipient of an Order of Merit Award.

Throughout his professional life, his years of travel both interstate and abroad and his sporting pursuit (chiefly sailing and tennis), Barry was supported by an understanding family – his wife Elaine and daughters Christine, Suzanne and Catherine (and Ben their English Springer Spaniel).

“I thank all who have helped me during those 25 years and encourage you all to revere the Good Old Days when we used to have fun and a ‘fantastic’ time,” Barry related in one of his earlier stories.

“I have never lost sight of the joy and satisfaction which is my reward for the effort and commitment I have willingly put in.”

Barry Jamison's funeral service will take place at St. Dominic's Church, 816 Riversdale Road, East Camberwell, on Thursday, July 15, commencing at 10.00am.

The service will also be livestreamed, link as follows - https://www.belindajanevideo.com/client-video/barry-jamison/

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VALE BARRY MERNAGH, 1935-2021

Two old classmates, Brian Waters and John O’Connor, recently contacted the association to advise that Barry Mernagh had also passed away.

“Barry completed his matriculation year in 1952 after joining Parade from St Thomas’s in Clifton Hill,” John said.

In The Paradian’s Class Notes for that year, the following was reported:

“Clifton Hill sent us four worthy recipients in Rene Stella (geography, military), Des Taylor (literateur, sportsman), Julian Fleming (music) and Barry Mernagh (conversationalist, historian)”.

Matriculation 1952. Barry Mernagh stands in the second back row, fourth from the left.

“He was a great contributor to the Church and was Regional Director of Northern Region for the Education Department (amongst other things),” John said of Barry.

“He was also best man at my wedding in January 1960.”

Barry Kevin Mernagh died on June 30 at the age of 86 after a long illness. He is survived by his wife of 58 years Carole, his children Michael, Andrew, David, Peter, Chris, Russell and their partners, and seven grandchildren.