Newcastle Hunter visit to Barry Martin
Newcastle Hunter Committee President Garry Leo and Peter Corcoran OAM recently visited Barry Martin in the Newcastle Rankin Park Hospital.
Barry, at the moment, is “doing it tough” with Parkinson’s and a form of dementia. At times, he defies the latter, is quite lucid, and he was able to have an enjoyable conversation with Garry and Peter. His spouse, Glenys, visits him daily but acknowledges that a “trip down rugby league memory lane” is an opportunity that brings a sparkle into Barry’s eyes.
Ever the gentleman, Barry offered to show his guests around the hospital. Since admission, he’d “escaped” from the ward on several occasions to be found elsewhere in John Hunter Hospital, so the offer was politely refused.
Barry played over 200 games with Newcastle Wests Rosellas in the 1960s and was a member of the 1961 Premiership Team – a win that ended a 39 year drought for the Rosellas. At a recent Wests reunion, the five remaining players of that team were honored by the Club. Upon retirement, Barry coached the Wests President Cup team with whom he won a Premiership.
In the 1970s – for more than a decade actually – Barry shifted his coaching interest and talents to take the Newcastle University ARLFC under his wing. He was later awarded University Colours for his Services to the University. During that time, he also guided the combined Australian University rugby league team with success. He and Peter, who was also a Combined Australian University Coach [1980 – 1983], had many fond memories of their times with the Students.
Interestingly, in the same ward as Barry, was Robbie Griese – of Warialda and Country Rugby League Northern Division fame. Robbie is in his final days of rehab after losing a leg in 2015 to diabetes.