Chris Barrie

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I remember a few things only about my time at NSBHS. One a visit to the State Theatre to see "The Battle of the River Plate" free of charge - because Peter Finch aka Capt Erich Lansdorf, was an old boy. True or not the movie played a significant part in my decision to switch career choice from brain surgeon to naval officer. Also a former colleague, Stretch Elliott, who went off to sea with the Merchant Navy; he headed for the Thames Training Ship(WORCESTER) in UK after Intermediate(I think). And then there was Rick Bayley who also had too many brothers and sisters at home to hang around with too long, so he joined the Navy in 1960. On all counts there are countless thousands of people who ought to be grateful that I switched careers and joined the Navy in 1961 aged 15. My choice had little to do with my poor academic showing!! (OBTW does anyone know where Elliott ended up?)

My career choice has been eternally fascinating - mostly waiting to see what unexpected surprise is going to happen next. It has involved 5 years in UK, 4 years in USA and over 2 years in India as well as about 14 years at sea. There have been three marriages (because I am a very slow learner) and 2 sons both now out in the big world and going really OK(one is in the Navy). I have a grandson who is a delight. Eventually I earned a BA and MBA through off campus study because the Navy was not at all supportive of uni degrees for the workers. Most fascinating job was my time in India chasing aircraft carrier and nuclear submarine issues for Kim Beazley, and in my spare time trying to learn piano.

In more recent times I have learned a lot about the inner workings of Government, worked hard to restore the budget for defence and set a path ahead for the organisation so I can now retire. Maxine and I will be able to enjoy our homes in Canberra, Sydney and Kythera(Greece), as well as a new found passion for downhill skiing. Maybe IO will become a ski bum for 6 months in USA/Canada. There are some NSBHS colleagues that I have bumped into over this period - Tim Ford who represents all of us at UN in NY, and is doing a great job, Ross Thomas who left defence recently after a very distinguished career, Ken Walker who I see around town, Ian Thomas who I had to fight one day many years ago over renting a particular house in the UK(he won). Finally when I attended the Army Staff College in 77 I lived next door to Johnny Weissal(not our year but a CUO in Cadets) who died of a heart attack in the early 80s I think.

When we get together in October I hope Robert Game will be there with that chess set! Maybe after a couple of beers we can see who has been keeping up the skills.