Michael Joseph Barry
- 542Wallaby Number
Mick Barry was a tough, nuggety halfback who, like Kiama dairy farmer Gary Grey, suffered from the fact that he competed with the near-indispensable John Hipwell for much of his representative career.
A graduate of Marist Brothers, Ashgrove, Barry played his club rugby at Brothers even though he studied medicine at the University of Queensland.
In 1966 he made his first appearance for Queensland against New South Wales and 19 days later faced the might of the touring British Lions.
His next taste of representative rugby came in 1968 for the Junior Wallabies against the All Blacks and although the scoreline was forgettable, Barry displayed enough good form that season to win a spot on his first Wallaby tour, to Ireland and Scotland. The following year Barry found himself as the backup to Hipwell for the tour to South Africa where he played in 13 matches, but none of the Tests.
In 1971 South Africa toured Australia and Barry was honoured with the captaincy for the Junior Wallabies match (12-31) in Brisbane. Hipwell played in each of the first two Tests, but was forced to undergo surgery for a calcification on his thigh. As a result Barry earned his first Test cap in the third and final international in Sydney. There were four selection changes and three new caps for the match, Bob Thompson, Stuart Macdougall and Barry. The Test was one to be remembered as the closing finale to six weeks of anti-apartheid demonstrations that had included scenes never before witnessed on the playing grounds of Australia. The pre-match mayhem started in Bondi Junction when a demonstrator threw a phial of tear gas into the team’s bus. Fortunately the combination of a strong police presence and demonstrator fatigue limited the number of arrests on the day to just 28. Not one single demonstrator made it beyond the barbed wire and onto the field and just four smoke bombs were thrown. Little did anyone know at the time but this match was to be the last between the two countries until 1992.
Mick Barry played one Test for Australia and will forever be Wallaby #542.
Barry won his first test cap at halfback inside Geoff Richardson in the 3rd Test, 6-18 loss to South Africa at the S.C.G.