Tony Barry’s tribute on Sunday at the Bruns Picture House was befitting for this larger than life, yet humble and loving Australian icon.
He was a quintessential Australian male of his epoch. A movie star, a father, a grandfather, a lover, a fighter, and a peace activist who fought the good fight till his very last days. We can all learn some of life’s lessons from his legacy, this man who would soothe so many with his dulcet tones, a voice that people knew before they recognised his face.
Our friendship grew firstly out of a love of acting, and then from our shared humanity. I started assisting him traverse the days of being wheelchair-bound and battling with fickle and declining health, visiting and caring for him. No one has ever fought a battle better. He was one of a kind, and the grace with which he held on to his dignity and quality of existence is, in retrospect, breathtaking.
A fine, real-life performance.
He wanted fiercely to live, and be of use to the world, and its human inhabitants, some who didn’t have the scope nor the will to do it alone. But Tony planted their faith in themselves again and also in a higher source.
A great tree has fallen in the forest… Valē big, booming beautiful man. Valē. Our hearts go with you.
♦ This is a condensed version of Joanna’s speech.