Obituary: Edward Barry Brandon

Barry Brandon.
Barry Brandon.

GUNNEDAH lost one of its most respected citizens with the death of Edward Barry Brandon, who passed peacefully at Alkira on January 29, at the age of 87.

St Joseph’s Catholic Church was packed for the farewell Mass on February 5.

Barry, as he was known, was born in Wagga Wagga, on May 16, 1930, to Edward and Dorothea Brandon. He spent his early years in Sydney, growing up with his older sister Elaine and younger siblings Anne, Gabrielle, Josephine and Peter. His youngest sister Mary was born prematurely and only survived three days.

He was educated by the Marist Brothers at Eastwood but his mind was always on the Australian outback, which he embraced in 1949 after finding work as a stock hand at Nappa Merrie Station, a 2000 square mile property on Cooper Creek near the South Australian/Queensland border, running about 8000 cattle.

Barry revelled in this new experience and in 1951 he secured a position with Tancred Brothers, a wholesale meat business, at their operations in Bourke. This was the start of a long association with the Tancred family.

Barry with his wife Helen on their 50th wedding anniversary. Photo: Supplied

Barry with his wife Helen on their 50th wedding anniversary. Photo: Supplied

After a year of working as a stockman in the yards and labourer on the slaughter floor, Barry was trained as a stockbuyer, gaining experience at cattle sales in Cunnamulla, Charleville and Quilpie over the next three years.

During one of these stock-buying trips, he met the love of his life - Helen, an English barmaid working at the Quilpie Hotel. Their attraction grew each time the strapping young Aussie returned to Quilpie, and they married at Epping in May 1957. The couple made their home at 77 Hope Street, Bourke, and over the years welcomed three sons - Chris (1958), Ian (1961) and Stuart (1963). In the eulogy at his father’s farewell Mass, Stuart Brandon recalled a great family life growing up in Bourke.

In 1968, the family moved to Dubbo where Barry was the livestock buyer for Tancreds throughout that region. Five years later, he was appointed manager of Tancred’s boning room at Gunnedah Abattoir. He also continued as a livestock buyer within the area.

Stuart Brandon remembered attending cattle sales with his father during school holidays and witnessing first-hand the friendship and respect the buyers and agents had for each other.

After 40 years working for Tancreds, Barry Brandon finished up in 1994 but retirement was not in his vocabulary – to him it was just a “change of direction”.

He was able to indulge in his passion for bushwalking and writing, while making time to assist the disadvantaged through the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Barry wrote a series of newspaper articles about his working life and the history of Tancreds, as well as tales of the outback and early explorers. He also loved writing poetry.

Stuart Brandon described his father as “a terrific family man” who loving spending time with his grandchildren Heath, Shaun, Stephanie, Julia, Michael, Bronwyn and Caitlin, and his great grandchildren Hannah, Sophie, Kiarna and Gregory.

He had a great deal of love to share and was well known in his adopted community as “nature’s gentleman”.

Barry cared lovingly for his wife Helen during a debilitating illness and a few years after her death on November 17, 2013, he moved to Alkira where he was loved and respected by staff and residents alike.

The late Barry Brandon is survived by his sisters Gabrielle and Josephine, sons and daughters-in-law Chris and Heather (Wodonga, Victoria), Ian and Carmel (Jindabyne), Stuart and Linda (Tamworth) and their families.

The Mass of Christian Burial was followed by interment at Gunnedah Memorial Park.

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