Feature

Ken lived life to the full

A Service of Thanksgiving for the 94 years of life of Kelvin Athol (Ken) Barnier at St Andrews Presbyterian Church, Grafton.
A Service of Thanksgiving for the 94 years of life of Kelvin Athol (Ken) Barnier at St Andrews Presbyterian Church, Grafton. Debrah Novak

WHAT a life and what a fitting send-off for the man who lived it.

About 250 people packed into and outside of St Andrews Presbyterian Church, Grafton, yesterday to farewell Kelvin Athol "Ken" Barnier.

The 94-year-old Second World War veteran packed more life into his allotted span than most would expect from 10 men.

Ken's eldest son, Neville, told the congregation of a hard-working, loving and gentle man, but one who was prepared to go off to war when duty called in the 1940s.

Ken grew up on a farm on the banks of the Clarence River in the 1920s near Copmanhurst. Through this peaceful, simpler upbringing, Ken developed a love of the land and also a deep affinity for horses.

Inspired by stories of the Australian Light Horse's role in the First World War, Ken - then aged 17 - joined the 15th Light Horse Regiment AIF in 1935 with his faithful mare Old Gray.

From 1942 to 1944 he served in the Middle East and New Guinea campaigns in the same unit - the 2nd/5th Field Regiment - as Vic- toria Cross winner and former NSW Governor Sir Roden Cutler.

Neville told how his father married Kathleen, who he met while he was a drummer in a music trio playing the dance halls in the Copmanhurst region before the war.

He was home on injury leave from New Guinea and wed his wife of 69 years in Christ Church Cathedral before heading back to New Guinea.

Neville said his father's war stories were always a hit with the children, although he realised later in life they always told the funny side of his experiences and shielded them from the horrors

After the war Ken settled back into civilian life with Kathleen, settling on a farm at Whiteman Creek where they raised their family and have lived ever since.

Ken's experience driving trucks during the war carried over into civilian life where he held jobs as a goods carrier, a bus driver and a truck driver for Big River Timbers.

He also continued to work his land and was still ploughing fields on his tractor at age 92.

Ken was heavily involved in the Copmanhurst Rural Fire Service, The Copmanhurst Hall Committee, the Grafton Marching Girls Association and the Grafton District Services Motorcycle Club.

Although he became involved in these organisations through his children, he and Kathleen threw themselves wholeheartedly into them and after filling executive roles for many years, all these bodies rewarded Ken with life memberships.

Neville said his Dad never forgot about his time in the army and said Anzac Day was always special to him. He recalled his final Anzac Day this year had been particularly memorable and how much he enjoyed the coverage in The Daily Examiner.

"A few days later he went to Copmanhurst, which was virtually his home town, and laid a wreath on behalf of the hall committee and that was special to him," he said.

Neville paid tribute to his father's carers in his final years.

Topics:  copmanhurst funeral grafton



Shoppers hit Prince St over holiday period

Noel Smith of Low Pressure Surf Co in Prince St, Grafton. Photo JoJo Newby / The Daily Examiner

A fruitful holiday season for Grafton's main street.

The scary reality behind Australia's heatwaves

A new report found 2016 was the hotter year yet.

YOU think the weather is bad now? It could get a whole lot worse.

An emotional Mike Baird: 'There was great personal cost'

"After 10 years in public life, this moment for me has arrived."

Local Partners

Pool upgrades a positive for community

New facilities at the South Grafton Pool improve access for all members of the community was officially opened by the Minister for Disability Services


Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

Artist program to link to gallery theme

VALUABLE STINT: Indigenous artist Karla Dickens at work in Grafton Regional Gallery's studio during her 2010 artist's residency.

Gallery encouraging indigenous artists to take up residency offer

See the historical heritage horses

OPEN DAY: Enjoy a day out learning or finding your next dream horse from the Guy Fawkes River National Park.

Guy Fawkes Heritage Horse Association Inc. open day.

Married At First Sight: Ipswich bachelor seeks love

READY FOR IT: Ipswich man Simon McQuillan will appear on the upcoming new season of Married At First Sight.

Romance would top off recovery for Booval man

Dinky-di Denyer: Family Feud favourite hosts Oz Day party

Grant Denyer will host Channel 10's Australia Day concert from the Sydney Opera House.

GRANT Denyer shares his Australia Day traditions ahead of concert.

Clarence full of golden grains of coastal goodness

Sand is fascinating if underrated.

Tribute to an undervalued natural resource

Scriven's self-taught guitar playing wins over audiences

Adam Scriven will play Yamb'a Pacific Hotel next Wednesday night.

Multi-instrumentalist's self-taught approach wins over fans

Chelsea Handler blames the Kardashians for Donald Trump win

Chelsea Handler pictured in a scene from her talk show in Los Angeles.

TALK show host blames rise of reality TV family for election result.

Law & Order’s Trump inspired episode is still in limbo

The cast of Law & Order: SVU season 18, from left, Kelli Giddish, Raul Esparza, Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T and Peter Scanavino. Supplied by Channel 10.

SHOW'S mastermind unsure if or when twice-delayed episode will air.

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

Rates safe from land value hike

DRIVING GROWTH: The Pacific Highway upgrade has been linked to improved land values.

Figures up in latest valuer-general report

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

Pat Rafter's $18m Coast home proves hot property

PAT'S PAD: The Sunshine Beach home of tennis ace Pat rafter is on the market for a record price.

"It's a record for our company and for the Sunshine Coast.''

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!