Barry Perkins aka “Baz”
Driving up the steep driveway to Barry’s place in the gorgeous town of Adelong, at the foothills of the NSW Snowy Mountains, I was greeted by the lively long haired red kelpie “Sarah” and I could already sense that I was about to meet a cracker of a man.
Following a short struggle to find the entryway (Baz was a bit of a collector), I stepped into the house and was enveloped by the powerful scent of tobacco, the warmth of the wood fire and the TV blaring with the Racing Channel-it was immediately evident this was a true old school bachelors pad.
As we started our interview I was struck by the very kind, friendly, generous man who sat before me, it was clear he had worked hard all his life and yet there was a beautiful softness evident in his welcoming nature and openness to talk about anything.
Barry had been a shearer for 50 years-his passions were shearing and travel and he got to combine them both and he LOVED it. So much so in fact that when he headed to Western Australia for a 6 month shearing assignment he didn’t return for 4 years. His secret to a long life was an easy one for him to answer-he didn’t hesitate on this one “Oh, joy & company work-I’ve enjoyed my life”. And with a cheeky grin in tow Baz confessed he couldn’t live without his beer, happiness & giggles and went onto say “Well I suppose I could, but I’ve never been without them”. It seems Baz really has the secret elixir all worked out.
Barry is married to Jenny and has been for 42 years. They produced a beautiful baby girl “Casey” however she tragically passed away when she was only 8 weeks old. Barry & Jenny didn’t go on to have any more children, in fact they no longer live together and although separated remain great mates.
The key lessons Barry took from his parents were; “To respect people, go to work-that’s the main thing”. It is evident that Baz took these lessons to heart and lived by them. He went on to tell me his life philosophy is “Be honest with self & help people”. Clearly a philosophy that has helped him achieve the incredible level of happiness & fulfillment he embodies.
When I asked Barry if there was anything he would want to change if he had his life over again, his response was gold; “NO WAY! My lifestyle-I LOVE IT!” And what about the best years in Australia Barry; “The best years in Australia have been all my life really but especially during the 80’s when Keating was in Government and there was money about. No money about now, we are going backwards in Australia & quickly. I wouldn’t vote for any of them. Why would we? The Government is just there feathering their own nest”.
I knew we had just scratched the surface on this great man’s story however sadly our interview was cut short as Barry headed off for cancer treatment. Baz was in high spirits though, it didn’t really seem to phase him. In true Aussie style he told me “Just a few more and I’ll be good” A hard working man who has lived a life he loved and wouldn’t change a thing-now that is a life well lived